Death Penalty in Oregon
2 April 2015
The Death Penalty is a major issue in Oregon. There is a lot of controversy around it. Many people are for and many are against. Recently, Oregon Governor Kate Brown decided to continue the Death Penalty until there was a discussion. Previous governor John Kitzhaber said that it is morally wrong. He wanted to commute all of the people on Death Row to life in prison. However, he was only able to commute one man before his resignation. The Death Penalty is wrong and should be ended in Oregon. (Shelby: Cost of Death Penalty)
The Death Penalty discriminates against poor people and racial and religious minorities. 77% of the people on death row are there for allegedly killing a white person. 15% supposedly killed blacks; 6% Hispanics and 2% other. A defendant is several times more likely to be put on death row if the victim is white, according to Amnesty International’s studies. Furthermore, African Americans are three times as likely as whites to receive capital punishment. Our country can not tolerate this if we want to live up to our standards. Even if we were to keep the death penalty, the racism would need to stop. (Amnesty: Death Penalty Facts)
Not only is the death penalty morally wrong, but it is also costing our state a ton of money. It’s costing Oregon $20 million per year. That is a lot of money that we shouldn’t be spending on an immoral cause. (oadp: Cost of Death Penalty in Oregon) The death penalty costs about $1.6 million per person. Life in prison costs about $740,000 per person. (Amnesty: Death Penalty Cost) That is almost a million dollars less per person! We could use the rest of that money for a good cause like education and law enforcement. Our state would improve drastically without the death penalty. In Oregon over the past 10 years, lawyers defending convicts being tried for capital punishment have made over $93 million dollars. That goes to show how many cases there have been, considering the fact that public defense lawyers get paid much less than other lawyers.
Capital Punishment is the easy way out for criminals. If I were a criminal, I would rather take the death penalty than serve life in prison. If someone that I was close to was killed, I would want them to suffer life in prison not be executed. A counter-argument is the warning factor. People might say that the death penalty might scare someone into not committing the crime. I believe that that is not true. Someone might be more inspired to commit a crime if the death penalty is in effect because they know they will get the easy way out. The United Nations’ Declaration of Human rights says that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Not only is the Death Penalty immoral, but it is also a human rights violation. (Listverse: 5 Arguments)
Capital Punishment is obviously a human rights violation. Criminals get the easy way out, people close to the victim are opposed to it, it’s super expensive, and it’s racist. There are no truly good aspects to it, and I have no idea why Oregon or any other state still enforces the Death Penalty. I hope Governor Kate Brown discontinues the death penalty because that would be the right thing to do.
“Death Penalty Cost.” Amnesty International. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. <http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-cost>.
“Death Penalty Facts.” Amnesty International. Web. 28 Mar. 2015. <http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/us-death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-race>.
“What is the Cost of the Death Penalty in Oregon.” oadp. 9 May 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <http://www.oadp.org/facts/costs>.
Sebens, Shelby. “What is the Cost of the Death Penalty in Oregon.” reuters. 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/20/us-usa-politics-oregon-idUSKBN0LO2E420150220>.
“5 Arguments For and Against the Death Penalty.” listverse. 1 June 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2015. <http://listverse.com/2013/06/01/5-arguments-for-and-against-the-death-penalty/>.