Sample Criminal Justice Essay on Death Penalty is Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Death Penalty is Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Death penalty is a common type of punishment issued by most courts of law all over the world. The United States of America, for instance, impose death penalty on some types of criminal offenses such as terrorism and murder. Despite this approach by some countries, most people think that death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment that does not create justice for the offended parties (Bedau and Hugo 33). There are many reasons, opinions, and school of thinking that support this argument against death penalty. It is also controversial that some countries have legal provisions for death penalty but in practice does not use it. This paper explores some major reasons why the phenomenon should be considered cruel and unusual punishment issued by courts of laws.

The first thing that makes death penalty cruel and unusual is how it is administered or executed; nowadays, it probably takes longer to execute it making the culprit live under prolonged hours of fear, pain, and uncertainty. In America and other countries, death penalty is now administered through lethal injection, which becomes the cruelest and most unusual manner of execution when botched. This is evidenced by the previous botched lethal injection in two states namely Arizona and Oklahoma. In the Arizona case, the process of administering death penalty through lethal injection on Ernest Jones lasted for more than one and a half hours. For more than one hour and half hours, the prisoner, Ernest Jones, was not dead after receiving the lethal injection; he was furiously emitting various sounds, snoring and gasping air. This made it a very cruel ordeal and experience for both the prisoner and the people who were administering the lethal injection (Manski and John 2).

Secondly, death penalty subjects the prisoner under impermissible form of mental torment, which also affects the administrators. The prisoner is mentally tormented from the movement he or she learns of the death penalty verdict. The person cannot think and reason rationally knowing that the hanging moment is just by the corner. This experience is worsened when the execution of the death penalty is delayed; delay is a common incidence in United States and other countries. Once the court gives a verdict for death penalty, it takes several months if not years before it is executed. This actually makes it a cruel and unusual process in the justice system. The waiting time can be longer than 5 years; according to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the waiting time for most prisoners under death row is 11 years and 2 months in United States (Baldus 45).

Death penalty is unpredictable. Besides the length of time, the unpredictability of death penalty makes it a cruel and unusual punishment issued by the justice system. It is not easy to predict whether or when the verdict will be executed. In addition, many people consider death penalty a uniquely dysfunctional type of punishment. This is because it is very unclear to predict how the case will fair if it reaches high court through appeal process. Sometimes the appeal process contributes to the delay of both the justice and the execution of the death penalty. Lastly, death penalty is often postponed before the actual execution making it a very cruel and unusual punishment in the justice system (Cohen and Pat 56).

In conclusion, death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment that should not be used in the justice system. Its continued use does more harm to the justice system than good. In addition, killing the offender does not create justice to the culprit (Canes-Wrone et al. 21).

Work Cited

Baldus, David C., George Woodworth, and Charles A. Pulaski. Equal justice and the death penalty: A legal and empirical analysis. Upne, 1990.

Bedau, Hugo Adam (ed). The death penalty in America: Current controversies. Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.

Canes-Wrone, Brandice, Tom S. Clark and Jason P. Kelly. “Judicial selection and death penalty decisions.” American Political Science Review 108.01 (2014): 23-39.

Cohen, Beth D. and Pat K. Newcombe. “The Hanging Judge by Michael A. Ponsor–A Book Review: Capital Punishment–Is the Death Penalty Worth the Price?” (2014).

Manski, Charles F. and John V. Pepper. “Deterrence and the death penalty: partial identification analysis using repeated cross sections.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 29.1 (2013): 123-141.