Capital punishment in the United States judicial system

The United States of America is among the 54 countries in the world that are still practicing capital punishment. Capital punishment is the execution of individuals who commit serious offenses such as rape, robbery with violence and murder. Texas is one of the regions with the highest execution rate. 32 states still practice capital punishment. Some of them include; Alabama. Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Idaho.

Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 by the Supreme Court. Since then 1499 people have been executed.  16 of them are women and 22 are juveniles. The Supreme Court, however, ruled out the execution of juveniles in 2005. According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, 25 people were executed in the United States in 2018. There are different ways of executing capital punishment such as electrocution, lethal injection, hanging and use of cyanide gas. Lethal injection is the most common. Reports by the Criminal Justice Project show that there were 2673 people on the death row as of April 2019.

Research shows that there are high crime rates in states that exercise capital punishment. A survey conducted by the New York Times revealed that 10 0ut of 12 states that do no exercise capital punishment have homicide rates that are below the average. Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations shows that half of the states that have capital punishment have crime rates that are above the national average.

Those who support capital punishment argue that people found guilty of serious crimes deserve to be punished. The severity of the punishment should correspond with the crime committed. For instance, if the person killed. They also deserve to be killed, an eye for an eye. Capital punishment also deters criminals from re-committing such crimes as it gives no room for rehabilitation.

Executions done in humiliating ways when the public is watching is likely to cause fear among those who had intentions of committing such crimes. Capital punishment also prevents prisons from being overpopulated. This lowers the costs of maintaining correction centers and thus reduces the burden for the taxpayer.

Some of the states in the USA implement capital punishment. So far close to 1500 people have been executed and others are on the death row waiting to be executed. Although states with capital punishment experience higher crime rates, proponents argue that capital punishment reduces crimes by deterring criminals from executing more crimes.


Powell, Lewis F. “Capital Punishment.” Harvard Law Review 102.5 (1989): 1035-1046.

Greenberg, Jack. “Capital punishment as a system.” Yale LJ 91 (1981): 908.

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