Almost all of the American states allow the death penalty. The capital punishment makes executing criminals legal. It means that there are certain crimes which may cause a person to be executed. Only two American states are clearly against the death penalty. The first one is Kansas, and the second one is New York, where the death penalty is officially prohibited. In Texas, the death penalty is allowed since 1819, and it is practiced rather often comparing to other states. For example, there were almost 1,300 people who were executed until the present moment. Texas has the second rank among executing criminals behind Virginia. It shows that in Texas, the death penalty is used a lot, and it is something that is practiced within the state quite a lot. One can also use a specific example of the amount of criminals being executed since 1976 in Texas since the amount was the highest comparing to other American states (500 people). Nevertheless, the current practice has met a lot of criticism. There are many people who oppose the death penalty, and there are many Texas citizens who would like the capital punishment to be prohibited.
One can say that American society is dealing with a huge controversy because of opposite parties since there are people who believe the death penalty is beneficial for society, and there are others who strongly oppose it. Opponents of the death penalty state that the capital punishment does not deter crime and criminals keep committing crimes the same way they used to do. When it comes to Texas, the crime rate did not drop because of crime rate. On the other hand, there were innocent people executed. One can use a specific example of Cameron Todd Willingham. He was executed in 2004 for killing his three daughters, but the evidence which was found later revealed that there were other facts the investigators did not take into consideration, which led to the fact that Willingham was executed. Another example was the execution of Carlos DeLuna. He was sentenced to death because he was believed to be a murderer, but new evidence showed that he could be innocent, and the actual murderer was a similarly-looking man. These cases in Texas show that the death penalty may lead to the deaths of innocent people. According to The New York Times journalist Shane (2013), “The movement to end the death penalty has garnered more support from politicians and the public as it has shifted from moral condemnation of capital punishment to a more practical argument: that mistakes by witnesses and the police inevitably mean that innocent people will be executed”.
Nevertheless, there are people who strongly support the capital punishment. According to the recent poll, approximately 46% of people living in Texas strongly support the death penalty and find it to be the right form of punishment. Almost thirty percent of people somewhat support the death penalty. According to these statistics, only 10% of people in Texas strongly oppose the death penalty and another 10% simply oppose it with the rest being undecided. These statistics show that there are more Texans who support the capital punishment than those who oppose it. They have many reasons for that. For example, supporters state that the death penalty is essential for American juridical system. They want every American state to be able to execute people who committed horrible crimes. Thus, Texans in the state do not only support the execution in their state, but they also encourage other states to use this type of punishment for various reasons.
Many Texans believe that some crimes cannot be forgiven. They believe that criminals who committed truly monstrous crimes cannot change and improve because they will always remain threats to society. Hence, it makes more sense to get rid of such people once and for all, because it is an only way to secure everybody.
One can also speak about the economic side of the issue. Supporters of the death penalty believe that it is illogical to keep people in prison until they die. This way, taxes citizens pay are spent on the prisoners who will remain there forever. The death penalty allows saving taxpayers’ money because execution costs less.
When it comes to Texas, one can distinguish certain reasons why there are so many executions. First of all, the overall population of Texas is greater than in every other American state (except California). Thus, it makes sense that there may be more crimes and executions because there are more people. Nevertheless, comparing Texas to California, there were more than five hundred people executed in Texas in less than forty years while there were only 13 executed in California, and there were no executions in California for almost eight years since 2006.
Another reason for such a big amount of execution cases in the state of Texas is the attitude people have toward capital punishment. According to statistics which were mentioned earlier, three-quarters of the state’s population support or strongly support the capital punishment. Thus, executions do not lead to outrage of Texans who may consider such type of the punishment to be immoral. On the other hand, Texans believe it is something normal for juridical system, and they find the death penalty to be as normal as imprisoning somebody for robbery.
History also contributed to the death penalty. There were many African Americans lynched in Texas a century ago. Although blacks represent less than fifteen percent of the population, almost a half of the people, who were executed, was black.
One can also speak about conservativeness of Texas. People there are used to punishments which existed for a long time. Hence, they find the capital punishment to be something which was there throughout history. Thus, it is only normal for conservative Texans to keep the law and use the death penalty as an ultimate tool to punish those who disobey the law and harm others and society.
One can see that the death penalty is a controversial issue within American society. There are states where people oppose it greatly. There are other states that support the capital punishment and find it to be an essential part of the overall juridical system. An example of such support can be found in Texas where people support the executions carried out to some criminals. Many Texans believe that there are some criminals who cannot change, and it makes more sense to execute them so they would not be able to kill anyone any longer. Supporters also state that it is economically disadvantageous to keep people in prison forever, and it is better for the economy to execute those who have no chances to get out of jail.
People can argue for a long time discussing the death penalty and its effects on the country and specifically on the state of Texas. There will always be some who support it, and there will be those who oppose it and find it immoral. Nevertheless, only through debates and voting people may determine whether the death penalty is something good or bad. This way, it will be possible to see whether Texans want the death penalty to be legal in the state for many years, or whether they would rather get rid of this type of punishment.
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