Art by Sam Haney
Story by Gracie Vanover
For many countries world wide the death penalty is not something inmates fear anymore. In the last 16 years the death penalty has been a true rarity. But now those numbers are going to see a tremendous rise.
President Donald Trump reinstated the federal level of capital punishment just a few days ago. In reversing the death penalty hiatus Trump has caused people to line up already to face their end. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) 62 people are on federal death role and approximately 2,600 for state death penalty. Although some see this as an eye for an eye, it appears to be more of an improper solution.
In seeing this punishment as an eye for an eye many forget a crucial part. The inmate’s backstory. In many cases details of abusive childhoods or other factors are thrown out the window and forgotten in a trial. For example, in 1994 a man named Scotty Morrow murdered his ex-girlfriend and other women. To no surprise he was sentenced to death row, but there are, of course, always complexities.
In Morrow’s case he was violently treated as a child and never received therapy or any form of mental health booster, leaving him unstable. In the 20 or so years he spent in prison he became a rehabilitated man and would have been released back into the world had it not been for his lethal injection. Many officers in the prison said he was the best behaved inmate and was one of the kindest people they had ever met.
Of course, Morrow is just an example of many other prisoners in the states. Had it not been for his death penalty he would have been free to go back into the world a changed person. In using these lethal punishments second chances of life are completely squandered.
In revamping the death penalty we are stooping to the level of serial killers or murderers. We are no longer fighting for justice and in the end doing exactly what the accused are. What makes us so much better than them?
Many supporters of the death penalty, like Trump, claim to be pro-life. If pro-lifers are fighting for an unborn life, then why are they trying to end one that is well on its way? Sure this life commited a crime but is one life not as precious as another? If an unborn life is worth as much as people draw it out to be then why is an inmate’s worth less? The simple answer is if the unborn life is precious, then so is the inmate’s.
As a society we should condemn this distasteful penalty and work towards better solutions. We in no way have authority to take the life of someone even though they took someone else’s. Rather than ending their lives we should try to turn their lives in the right direction. Morrow corrected himself but never saw the light of day again much like others charged with the death penalty. So what exactly stopping us from amending these prisoners’ lives? Nothing but our own laws.