Arguments opposing the death penalty can be influenced by morals, but there is also an abundance of hard facts surrounding the issue that cannot be ignored. Based on the statistics regarding capital punishment, it is racist, not cost effective and does not discourage crime.
When it comes to race, criminals charged with murdering a white person are more likely to receive the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 78 percent of the victims in death penalty cases were white, compared to 15 percent of black victims, 5 percent of Latino victims and 2 percent of other races. On a national basis, whites make up 50 percent of all murder victims.
Furthermore, a 2005 study done in California showed that a criminal charged with murdering a white person was three times more likely to receive capital punishment than someone who was charged with murdering an African American victim. The criminal was four times more likely to receive the death penalty than someone who had murdered a Latino victim.
The facts also do not show that capital punishment discourages crime. According to the 2009 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the South had the highest percentage of executions (80 percent). Yet from 2001 to 2009, the region saw no significant drop in its murder rate.
The facts are the same for the country's other regions, even the Northeast, which has the lowest number of executions at less than one percent. Overall, the country's murder rate only dropped approximately 7.4 percent from 2008 to 2009.
There is also no evidence to support the argument that it costs more money to keep people in prison for life than it does to kill them.
A December 2009 news article from Lubbock, Texas revealed that a capital punishment case in the state cost $1 million whereas the average cost of a case devoid of capital punishment is $3,000. This does not include the cost of appeals in capital punishment cases, either, which can more than double the cost.
Then there is the cost while the person is in prison. It costs $47.50 to house a criminal in prison in the state of Texas for one day. If someone were sentenced to life in prison, it would cost $693,500 to house him or her for 40 years. That is still only a fraction of the cost of a death penalty court case.
Also, prisoners on death row spend, on average, at least 12 years in prison before they are executed. In Texas, this would mean an extra $208,050 added to the high cost of the court case and appeals process.
In the end, the death penalty does not promote equality. It is not effective in discouraging crime and it is not cost effective. The death penalty is simply not working for America.