There have been many controversies in the history of the United States. Ranging from abortion to gun control, but capital punishment has been one of the most widely contested issues in recent decades. The questions of facts concerning capital punishment fall into three general areas: Does capital punishment save money? Does capital punishment strike fear into offenders, saving innocent lives by deterring would-be killers or does it only punish those who have committed a crime? Finally, is execution by the state as immoral as murder by private citizens?.
The most notable country for the use of capital punishment has been the United States. Forty states currently have capital punishment on the books, however some have not used this law in many years. Even those states that do execute murderers use this option very rarely. Out of every 20,000 murderers, only 300 are actually executed. .
In the 1960's, a movement caused many states to rethink their position on capital punishment. Many argued that the use of capital punishment was cruel and unusual. Nevertheless, in the 1970's and the 1980's, public opinion changed again, and capital punishment became more popular.
In 1976, the United States Supreme Court heard a case that argued that the use of capital punishment in the United States was cruel and unusual. The court rejected the appeal, finding that the death penalty was not in contrast to the United States Bill of Rights.
In January 1977, Gary Gilmore became the first person to be executed in the United States in over 10 years. Gilmore had requested the courts to execute him by firing squad. Since this time over 300 murders have been executed. While each state varies with the use of the death penalty, both Texas and Florida have the most executions per capita. .
Currently, there are about 3000 inmates on death row in the United States. Even though an inmate has been sentenced to death, by law they are entitled to various appeals.