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America and the Death Penalty

            The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offence. The penalty has been a very controversial topic ever since it came to be. Many people believe that the death penalty is far too harsh in parallel to murder because it is against their religion or because of the many mistakes that have been made. Others believe that the criminal being charged must deserve such a punishment for what he did and that it protects society. .
             Currently, there have been over 1,000 deaths due to the death penalty since 1976 (Death Penalty Information Center). There are 32 states that are in favor of the death penalty and there are 18 states that are not. The percentage of victims to the death penalty according to race are mostly white at 76%. Even though the percentage of victims charged with the death penalty are mostly white, it is said that jurors in Washington state are 3 times more likely to recommend a death penalty sentence to a black defendant than for a white defendant in a similar case (Beckett). In Louisiana, the odds of a death penalty sentence were 97% higher for those whose victims were white than those whose victims were black (Pierce & Radelet). This is stating that race has a lot to do with who receives the death penalty and who does not. Over the years, there have been a total of 150 exoneration in the United States (Death Penalty Information Center). Since 1973, over 140 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. Also, from 1973 to 1999 there was an average of 3 exonerations per year. In the United States, Florida, on average, has the highest amount of death row exonerations. This information shows that there have been many wrongly accused victims of the death penalty. There are many different forms of execution used in the death penalty. Since 1976, lethal injection has been used 1222 times, the electric chair has been used 158 times, the gas chamber has been used 11 times, hanging has been used 3 times, and firing squad has also been used 3 times.

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