The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: Capital punishment still best option

Death sentence less costly, deters crime

The use of the death penalty is inherently risky, but is a life sentence without parole risk free? As someone with a family member in the Texas Department of Corrections, I am compelled to disagree with the proposal of giving someone a life sentence without parole in Kathryn Duggan’s column Tuesday.

While the institution of capital punishment is not a pleasant concept to consider, it does possess value. The death penalty is typically reserved for extreme cases. When absolutely necessary, capital punishment as a serious consequence deters crime more effectively than any other policy and would drastically reduce incoming criminal cases.

A life sentence without parole also has severe consequences. An unstable inmate can quickly turn violent, even behind bars. This would force the staff and other prisoners to be put at risk when dealing with such an inmate. Just last month, The Daily Gamecock published a column about prison overpopulation. It would be unwise to allow any potential threats the chance to strike again, even within prison walls.

There’s also the financial aspect of my argument. According to a CBS news broadcast from April 2012, maintaining one single prisoner costs more than $30,000 a year. When we do the math, the average life without parole can easily reach roughly $1.2 million for every inmate serving a life sentence. In addition, the health issues that result from life in prison can add even more to the bill. The cost of running prisons could contribute billions of dollars to the deficit.

Ultimately, capital punishment is the cheapest, safest and most responsible option, but also a very difficult choice to make.


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