Should the death penalty still be used in the United States criminal justice system?

      Should the death penalty still be used in the United States criminal justice system?

What is the specific problem?

          The death penalty proposes many problems, number one being that it costs millions of

dollars compared to that of a sentence of life without parole. According to Equal Justice

USA, (2016), for the past 40 years the death penalty has been manipulated in attempts to

perfect the system, but to no avail it is still a corrupt system. This is just one of many issues

the use of the death penalty faces.

What is the evidence of the problem?

          The evidence of the problem is that it is proven that the cost of an execution versus the

 costs of life without parole is a huge difference. The cost of killing someone by death

penalty is significantly more than that of sentencing someone to life without parole. Cases

without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost

$1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year

than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row,

according to Alarcon, A, and Mitchell, P., (2011), if the convicted criminals on death row in

the United States were converted to life without parole, it would save over an astonishing

$170 million dollars per year and over the next 20 years a savings of over $5 billion dollars.

This is just in the state of California alone. The other problem is that they spend millions of

dollars on convicted felons who are sentenced to death and then later they are found to be

innocent after they are already incurring costs on death row. Evidence is later found on many

of these convicted criminals, which proves their innocence. Some have been in prison for 30

years to later be found innocent.

      What do you suspect is causing the problem?

                What I suspect is the major problem with this system is sometimes the justice system

      works by stereotypes in categorizing their criminals, now allowing evidence later found

      proving the innocence of the convicted, not allowing a fifty-fifty spread of jurors to

      participate as jury members instead of only allowing people to become jurors who only

      believe in the death penalty. Corrupt attorneys who fall asleep during trials, arrive to a trial

      noticeably intoxicated as well as convicted criminals who do not have the money to afford

      the proper representation.

      Is the research question clearly expressed without being too general or too narrow?

          I believe that my research question is conveyed appropriately. I don’t think it is too

general because there are a lot of other subjects to discuss within this general area of

research, however, I choose to keep it in this area due to there being so many things wrong

with the costs and what each county pays in taxes as a result. I believe that a lot of people are

unaware of what the costs of the death penalty truly are, instead, they see it as justice for

themselves in the place of their loss.

      Does the question relate to the identified problem?

          The question I am looking for answers to relates to the problem at hand completely. I

would l like to know who honestly wants someone to die a quick death than suffer in a place

like prison for the rest of their lives? No matter what they do in prison, they will never get

out. Not by parole, not for good behavior, not for anything. They will have to live in a very

small shared space and never shower alone. Never get to eat what they want, never get to

wear what they want to, the only means of sex would be same sex and for some this is not an

option. They can never go to the mall, or to a grocery store and shop for what they want.

I have mentioned a lot of never will’s. Sure, they may qualify for educational programs, or

watch a little television or experience laughter every once in a while, but they will die there.

      Is the research, based on the research question, feasible?

                I believe the information in question is feasible because our country is in trillions of

      dollars’ in debt and we need to figure out a way to get out of this debt, instead of constantly

      adding to it. This would lead to a means for more research of the cost of more prisons to

      house prisoners, is the cost of housing prisoners less than that of the cost of the death

      penalty? Is the cost of keeping a prisoner in a prison less than that of the death penalty, yes

      this has been proven in our research. How do we get better representation for convicted

      felons on death row so that the innocent are not wrongfully accused of a crime they did not


      Will the research, based on the research question, add to the body of knowledge in the

      forensic psychology field?

                The research based quest will add to the body of knowledge which already exists

      because it is a well-known fact on many websites that the cost of the death penalty out-

      weighs the costs of death row, but what are they doing to fix this problem. If congress says

      there will be no more death penalty period in the United States, then that is how it will be.

      There would be more criminals sentenced to life without parole.


    Alarcon, A, and Mitchell, P., (2012), Death Penalty Information Center, retrieved November

19, 2016, from:

     Equal Justice USA, (2016), The Death Penalty in The United States, retrieved November 19,

           2016, from


Psychological Theory and Practice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *