Death penalty classist and racist

October 11, 2016 — by Amy Tang

We should support California Proposition 62 to repeal the death penalty.

Capital punishment is a never-ending cycle of violence created by a system riddled with social and economic bias and tainted by human error.

The purpose of the criminal justice system is to deter crime, rehabilitate convicts and protect civilians by confining dangerous  criminals.

Ultimately, the moral question surrounding capital punishment in America has less to do with whether those convicted of violent crimes deserve to die, but more with whether state and federal governments should be allowed to kill those convicted of crimes such as murder.

The death punishment does not treat people equally and is used disproportionately against minorities and the underprivileged. In the U.S., blacks are 11 times more likely to be charged with the death penalty than whites, according to Amnesty USA.

In addition, the criminal is three times more likely to receive the death penalty if the victim is white rather than a racial minority.

We cannot say that we live in a country that offers equal justice when racism consistently plagues the system that imposes prejudiced punishments.

The poor also face discrimination in the courts, according to  Marc Mauer, one of the country’s leading experts on sentencing policy, race and the criminal justice system. Wealthy people are able to take advantage of rights that are often not available to poor people.

Why do poor people get the death penalty? It has everything to do with the type of defense they can afford. Money buy a good defense. As the saying goes: Capital punishment means those without the capital get the punishment, whether they deserve it or not.

No matter how many checks and balances a justice system possesses, as long as the death penalty is intact, there have been and always will be cases in which innocent people are executed.

When stories surface of men and women who have served much of their lives in prison for wrongful convictions, social media is quick to condemn the justice system.

But what about the innocent people sentenced to death? One in 25 people sentenced to death is innocent, according to Newsweek, and until the death penalty is repealed, injustices will continue to occur.

Also, the percentage of murders in the 31 death-penalty states is significantly higher than in the 19 non-death-penalty states; the difference over the last 20 years ranges from 18 to 40 percent.

California’s justice system needs to change. The death penalty is an outdated, costly and immoral mechanism of punishment that undermines the very purpose of our criminal justice system.

 

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We need to support California Proposition 62, which  repeals the death penalty. The punishment is a never-ending cycle of violence created by a system plagued with racism and tainted by human error. Capital punishment does not treat people equally and is used disproportionately toward minorities and the underprivileged. In the U.S., a country that supposedly offers equal justice, black people are 11 times more likely to be charged with the death penalty than white people. California’s justice system needs to change. The death penalty is an outdated mechanism of punishment that undermines the very ideals of our criminal justice system and American equality.

 
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