A young man stands in the courtroom, waiting for the verdict of his case to be delivered. He has been accused of committing some of the most heinous crimes in history, and DNA evidence left at the scene of the crime proves without a doubt that he is responsible for the tragic events. Just a year prior, his advances were rejected at a party, and his emotions soon got the best of him. He dragged the girl outside and raped her before brutally beating her, leaving her dead. The courtroom is silent. You could hear a pin drop as the door opens up and the jury files in. Finally, one member of the jury stands, takes a deep breath, and shakily says the words, “We the jury find the defendant guilty.” The guilty verdict comes with a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. This young man will spend the rest of his life in prison because he committed such horrific crimes and left this DNA all over the crime scene. He has many years of his natural life left, where he will rot away in his cell. However, during the remainder of those years, he will continually be given food and medical care, forcing taxpayers to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars, just to keep a murderer and a rapist alive.
On average, it costs taxpayers $31,286 per year to house an inmate in a United States prison. The young man who just received his life sentence is in his early twenties, meaning he will have around sixty years left of his life that he will have to live out in prison. Throughout those sixty years, he will cost the United States’ taxpayers almost $2,000,000. This means that the money that is taken out of the paychecks of hard working individuals is being put towards keeping him alive for the remainder of his natural life. In instances such as that of the young man, where the life of someone else was taken, violated, and taken advantage of, coupled with substantial evidence, there is no reason that the accused should live to see another day. There is no reason that someone who has no regard for others’ lives should cost the United States’ taxpayers millions of dollars over the course of their lifetime. They showed such a lack of remorse that they should not be allowed to live out the rest of their natural lives. Capital punishment, which is commonly referred to as simply “the death penalty,” is needed in this country to punish those who commit the most heinous of crimes.
While housing an inmate can rack up a large number of costly bills for the taxpayers, sentencing people to death can avoid those costs and can help with overcrowding of prisons throughout the country. Lethal injection is seen as the most “humane” method of capital punishment, but it is also the most costly form of it. Despite it being the most costly, the necessary quantity of the drugs needed to carry out the execution will cost less than $1300, which is just .06% of what it would cost to house the young man in jail for the remainder of his life. The drastic difference in cost would allow for taxpayer dollars to be spent in more productive ways, such as issuing grants to schools to purchase new textbooks or providing more funding to a foodbank so that a single mother is able to feed her young children. The reinstatement of the death penalty will also keep the number of people in each prison down, therefore helping to solve the issue of overcrowding. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, one out of every nine prisoners are serving a life sentence. Given that life sentences are not usually granted for less severe crimes, it is safe to assume, for the purpose of this statistic, that most, if not all, of them are there because they killed someone. If the death penalty was reinstated, then up to 11-percent of all inmates would be eligible for it. This would help control the overflowing prison populations while also helping to save American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, as they would only have to pay for the vial of the lethal injection drug, rather than paying to keep the inmates alive year after year.
Many critics of capital punishment raise the issue that someone might wrongfully be put to death or that they may be put to death for a minor offense, such as a violating a restraining order or committing a non-violent drug offense. Carrying out an execution is a large responsibility, and it is not to be done without proper regulations. Someone who is in prison for 10 years for aggravated assault should not be sentenced to death. Their sentence is far too short and their crime is not severe enough to warrant their death. However, a murderer that was sentenced to life in prison in the basis of indisputable DNA evidence, for example, would be eligible to receive the death penalty. If they without a doubt are guilty of such a horrific crime, then there is no reason that they should be contributing to the overcrowding of prisons and to the wasting of tax dollars. It would greatly benefit society to not only have these criminals off the streets, but also out of prisons as well, and the only way that that can be made possible is to begin utilizing the death penalty once again.