There are five legal ways to kill a person in the United States, by hanging, firing squad, electrocution, lethal injection, and gas chamber. The last one is eerily reminiscent of the holocaust. Of course, all of the people that can be legally killed by one of these methods are convicted of a crime that warranted the punishment of death. However, a very large problem is that these people that are convicted are not always guilty. That, alone, should be enough to quell supporters of the death penalty but unfortunately it is not. Therefore two more reasons will be examined. The death penalty cannot be justified and should be abolished.


Illinois had one of the biggest death rows in the Midwest until the state put a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000. This was done because thirteen of the inmates on death row were found to be innocent of the crimes of which they were accused. Since 1984 the average time a prisoner spent on death row was 10.6 years according to the death penalty information center. Assuming that the sentences do not overlap, or when one 10.6 year batch of prisoners die, another batch came in, around 6 innocent people died on death row between 1984 and Illinois's moratorium in 2000. There is enough wrong with killing a criminal but to kill six innocent people is despicable.

Some death penalty supporters say that killing criminals is the only way to stop a one from committing another crime. According to Robert Johnson, “A substantial body of empirical research supports the claim that lifers are less likely, often much less likely, than the average inmate to break prison rules, including prison rules prohibiting violence.” The article goes on to describe that prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment without parole or lifers begin their sentence in maximum security which is the bleakest part of prison. That is why, when they get out, they know that they want to hold onto the few benefits that they have.

A life for a life should not be the way a society deals with its criminals. It is immoral and illogical. A life sentence will serve as a better alternative because it will save innocent people’s lives, it will keep prisoners in line and it will be the most logical thing to do with the scum of our society.