With the execution of Kevin Johnson, a death row inmate who was convicted in the 2005 murder of a Kirkwood Police officer in Missouri. It ponders the question, Should the Death Penalty be abolished?
My answer is yes.
Many believed racism played a part in the conviction of Johnson being sentenced to death and criticized the St. Louis County prosecutors’ “handling of this case and other death-eligible prosecutions, including the office’s decisions of which offense to charge, which penalty to seek, and which jurors to strike.” The prosecuting attorney sought the death penalty against four of five defendants tried for the killing of a police officer while in office, all of them black, while the fifth was White. In the case of the white defendant, the prosecutor invited defense attorneys to submit mitigation evidence that might persuade the office not to seek death, which was an opportunity not afforded the Black defendants.
Even though this wasn’t the case with Kevin Johnson, there have been and will always be cases of executions of innocent people. Especially by a justice system that remains susceptible to human errors. The death penalty violates the right to life. and also human decency as humans are subjected to torture and other inhumane treatments. Capital punishment is irreversible and should be a heavy cause for concern.
The legalized killing of inmates is often used in a disproportionate manner against the poor and minorities. From my research, I have learned that since 1973, more than 184 prisoners sent to death row in the USA have later been exonerated or released from death row on grounds of innocence.
These numbers are staggering and prove that the attention and focus should be on preventing crime. There should be things implemented to focus on the root cause of violence which is neglected poverty, mental health, poor education, and sustainable employment options. While looking at those on death row in the United States, we see evidence of poverty-stricken families and communities at risk. The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. Perpetrators rarely consider the consequences when they engage in violence. Being put to death isn’t a factor in criminals’ minds because they are committing these heinous acts with the thought that they won’t get caught and by feeling they have nothing to lose because of their environment.
This is not to excuse them or let them off the hook in any way shape or form for crimes committed. Do I believe criminals should be punished? Absolutely, But as far as being put to death, I strongly believe no man or woman has the right to play God with another human being’s life.