The death penalty has been around for thousands of years. Early civilizations would rely on a punishment to fit the crime. In America it is now up to each state on whether or not to have the death penalty. Even if a state does have the death penalty enacted doesn't mean it is right. There have been two sides, pro and con, on the fairness of the death penalty since it was started.
The people on the pro side think the death penalty is just. People who commit terrible crimes are thought to have to pay by giving up their life. Although not willingly the law would force them to do so. The 5th Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that, "no person shall be held to answer for a capital ... crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury ... nor be deprived of life ... without the due process of law." This amendment means that it would be ok to take a person's life, if they are put through a trial first. There is nothing different legally for putting a person to death than there is to put him in jail. Everyone is given the same chance to a fair trial to determine their fate. With so many crimes being committed how does the judicial system know who should be put to death and for how severe a crime? "...the Supreme Court has made every possible effort to make the death penalty fair. Is has demanded balance and consistency"(Stewart 23). Balance and consistency let's trials be quickly gone through since the people know what is a punishable offence and what is not. This also makes sure people who have not committed a serious crime to not be executed. There is, however, an adverse effect to this. "The deterrent effect lies in the knowledge of citizenry that it will more likely that not be carried out if the named crime is committed"(Katsh 257). If the person knows what will get them put to death than criminals may just not commit a severe enough crime. The crime can still mean killing someone but according to relied on precedents it wouldn't get the offender put to death. That is why it is hard to put a set standard on the issue but having each case judged on it's own would be fair to the defendant and the judicial system. Pro-death penalty followers also feel that the style of executions is fair. Executions can be carried out painlessly and with ease to the criminal. "In addition to providing a pain-free, nontraumatic death, nitrogen is cheap"(Stewart 31). Lethal injections are also painless and quick for the person receiving it. Another point of view is that the victims probably suffered a more painful death and the accused should not be put down easily. This goes back to Hammurabi's Code, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Although this would make sense the criminals are protected by the 8th Amendment, the Amendment states that the punishment cannot be cruel and unusual. The alternative to the death penalty is life imprisonment. This can be costly for taxpayers to keep a heinous criminal fed and sheltered for many years. Jails will also be overcrowded so more facilities would have to be built. Many people do not want to have to pay taxes for this and feel the death penalty is a cheaper way to go.
The people on the con side think that the death penalty is unjust and is cruel. Many think that religion plays a role. It is questioned that how can the life of a creation of god be decided to live or die by the government. This argument is not very substantial because there is not enough facts or laws to back it up and the two sides cannot decide on the meaning of it. The 8th Amendment also is used against the pro side. "... the three most often cited as proof that the death penalty is unconstitutional are "cruel and unusual"(Stewart 24). They are saying that the death penalty all together is cruel and unusual and therefor against the constitution. Currently the Supreme Court does not agree with this but