Thesis Statement On Why The Death Penalty Is Wrong

The idea of putting another human to death is hard to completely fathom. The physical mechanics involved in the act of execution are easy to grasp, but the emotions involved in carrying out a death sentence on another person, regardless of how much they deserve it, is beyond my own understanding. However, this act is sometimes necessary and it is our responsibility as a society to see that it is done. Opponents of capital punishment have basically four arguments.

The first is that there is a possibility of error. However, the chance that there might be an error is separate from the issue of whether the death penalty can be justified or not. If an error does occur, and an innocent person is executed, then the problem lies in the court system, not in the death penalty. Furthermore, most activities in our world, in which humans are involved, possess a possibility of injury or death. Construction, sports, driving, and air travel all offer the possibility of accidental death even though the highest levels of precautions are taken.  These activities continue to take place, and continue to occasionally take human lives, because we have all decided, as a society, that the advantages outweigh the unintended loss. We have also decided that the advantages of having dangerous murderers removed from our society outweigh the losses of the offender.

The second argument against capital punishment is that it is unfair in its administration. Statistics show that the poor and minorities are more likely to receive the death penalty. Once again, this is a separate issue.  It can’t be disputed sadly, the rich are more likely to get off with a lesser sentence, and this bias is wrong. However, this is yet another problem of our current court system. The racial and economic bias is not a valid argument against the death penalty. It is an argument against the courts and their unfair system of sentencing.

The third argument is actually a rebuttal to a claim made by some supporters of the death penalty. The claim is that the threat of capital punishment reduces violent crimes. Opponents of the death penalty do not agree and have a valid argument when they say, “The claims that capital punishment reduces violent crime is inconclusive and certainly not proven.”

The fourth argument is that the length of stay on death row, with its endless appeals, delays, technicalities, and retrials, keep a person waiting for death for years on end. It is both cruel and costly. This is the least credible argument against capital punishment. The main cause of such inefficiencies is the appeals process, which allows capital cases to bounce back and forth between state and federal courts for years on end. If supporting a death row inmate for the rest their life costs less than putting them to death, and ending their financial burden on society, then the problem lies in the court system, not in the death penalty. As for the additional argument, that making a prisoner wait for years to be executed is cruel, then would not waiting for death in prison for the rest of your life be just as cruel, as in the case of life imprisonment without parole.

Many Americans will tell you why they are in favor of the death penalty. It is what they deserve. It prevents them from ever murdering again. It removes the burden from taxpayers. We all live in a society with the same basic rights and guarantees. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with equal opportunities. This is the basis for our society. It is the foundation on which everything else is built upon. When someone willfully and flagrantly attacks this foundation by murdering another, robbing them of all they are, and all they will ever be, then that person can no longer be a part of this society. The only method that completely separates cold blooded murderers from our society is the death penalty.

As the 20th century comes to a close, it is evident that our justice system is in need of reform. This reform will shape the future of our country, and we cannot jump to quick solutions such as the elimination of the death penalty. As of now, the majority of American supports the death penalty as an effective solution of punishment.

“An eye for an eye,” is what some Americans would say concerning the death penalty. Supporters of the death penalty ask the question, “Why should I, an honest hardworking taxpayer, have to pay to support a murderer for the rest of their natural life? Why not execute them and save society the cost of their keep?” Many Americans believe that the death penalty is wrong. However, it seems obvious to some Americans that the death penalty is a just and proper way to handle convicted murderers.

For those of you who aren’t exactly fans of essay writing, standing in front of a firing squad might seem like a better option than having to write another essay about the death penalty.

I hear ya. This is a long-debated topic and one that can be challenging to write about because it can seem like there’s nothing new to say.

But if you do decide to write about the death penalty, or if your professor has already decided that for you, here’s how to write a death penalty essay the smart way.

But First … The Not-So-Smart Way of Writing a Death Penalty Essay

Avoid these ineffective writing strategies that will waste your time and likely earn you a poor grade.

Cliches

Cliches are tired, old expressions that are overused and don’t add anything new or original to your writing.

For example, if you’re arguing in favor of the death penalty, don’t simply state that someone should be executed because that person took a life. In other words, don’t argue “an eye for an eye.”

If you’re arguing against the death penalty, on the other hand, don’t say “two wrongs don’t make a right” or “you can’t stop violence with more violence.”

These expressions aren’t actual evidence. They just take up space and weaken your credibility because readers will think you don’t have any specific evidence to support your arguments.

Arguments based solely on religion

Unless you’re in a religious studies course or you’re specifically assigned to write about the death penalty from a religious point of view, you should generally steer clear of faith-based arguments.

Most professors want to see statistical, research-based evidence from scholarly sources rather than evidence from religious texts.

Biased language

The death penalty is an emotionally charged topic, and we all have our own opinions about whether it should be legal. Your goal is not to present an angry rant about the legalities of capital punishment.

Remember, you’re writing an academic essay. Pay attention to the tone of your writing.

Okay, so that’s what you shouldn’t do. Time to move on to what you should do.

How to Write a Death Penalty Essay the Smart Way

Step #1: Know the basics about your assignment

Before you begin, make sure you understand your assignment. Are you supposed to write an opinion essay, an argument essay, a pros and cons essay, or some other type of paper?

Do you need to use sources, and if so, what types of sources are acceptable? Can you use Wikipedia, or do you have to use peer-reviewed journal articles?

If you need sources, what type of citation style is required? Should you use MLA citations or APA citations?

These are all basic components, but they’re important. Getting one of them wrong could turn your A paper into a D paper.

Think about it. If you’re supposed to write a research-based argument essay using only scholarly sources and you turn in a pros and cons paper citing only websites like Wikipedia, what do you think your grade will be?

(I’m sure it won’t be the A you were hoping for.)

Step #2: Decide your focus and thesis

If you’re writing about the death penalty, your first thought is probably to write an argument essay about why the death penalty should or should not be legal. This is certainly an appropriate topic and focus (especially if that’s what you have to write about). But if you have some leeway, why not choose a more original focus?

Here are a few suggestions:

Informative Death Penalty Essay Ideas

  • Laws governing capital punishment in varying states (or other countries)
  • Forms of execution (in the US or other countries)
  • Types of drugs used in lethal injection
  • Appeals process in death penalty cases

Argument Death Penalty Essay Ideas

  • Constitutionality of the death penalty
  • Whether the death penalty deters crime
  • Race (or income level) as a factor in the sentencing of the death penalty
  • Physician participation in executions

With your topic firmly in place, write a thesis statement that identifies the specific focus of your topic.

Keep in mind that if you’re writing an argumentative paper, your thesis will be argumentative too. It should let readers know on which side of the argument your paper stands.

In other words, don’t write something like this:

“It has long been debated as to whether the death penalty deters crime.”

This thesis statement not only starts with a cliche, but also makes a general statement about the death penalty. It’s not argumentative.

Instead, dowrite something like this:

“Even though proponents of capital punishment argue that it deters violent crime, in reality, evidence illustrates that capital punishment has little to no effect in deterring violence.”

This thesis is much more specific and provides a clear argument.

Step #3: Find appropriate (and credible) sources

I’m not positive, but I’m guessing that if you have to use sources for your death penalty essay, you aren’t allowed to use the dictionary definition of “capital punishment” or a Wikipedia article about anything.

This means you’ll need to complete at least some amount of research.

Here are a few credible death penalty news articles to get you started:

If you’re looking for a few more basic online news articles, try these death penalty articles. This list of 50 facts about the death penalty from the Death Penalty Information Center might help spark some ideas too.

If you’re not allowed to use websites, then it’s time to find something a bit more academic. Check out the 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.

Not sure whether your sources are credible? Apply the CRAAP Test!

Step #4: Organize and prewrite

You have a topic, focus, thesis, and sources. Now comes the fun (and I use that term loosely) part: organizing all that information into an effective essay.

To begin, look through your sources again, and take some notes to highlight key ideas. Then start to sketch out what you think might be the main points of your paper.

Then, use an outline to put your ideas into place.

If outlining isn’t your thing, try another form of prewriting, such as listing or clustering.

The Home Stretch

With topic selection, researching, and organizing behind you, you can move into the final steps of the writing process—actually writing the paper!

Step #5: Draft

Don’t worry if you can’t think of a catchy introduction right away. Skip it. You can always write the introduction last.

You might want to start writing the body and the key arguments of your paper. If you’re not sure what type of information to include, read 3 Types of Essay Support That Prove You Know Your Stuff.

Don’t forget to wrap up your ideas with a killer conclusion!

Need a few essay ideas for inspiration? Check out these sample papers:

Step #6: Let our Kibin editors help with revision

Even a well-written draft is just that—a draft—and a draft can usually be improved. That’s where we come in.

Have one of our editors review your death penalty essay to make sure you’re not guilty of any writing crimes!

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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