This was highlighted by Zimring and Simon when they pointed out that there is always a risk of error in administering the death penalty and the consequences of this event far outweigh the potential benefits in terms of harm done and the justice being called for in the resolution of crimes (158). The US Supreme Court is also known to support its abolition. Early decisions have established the judicial view that capital punishment is unconstitutional and it violates the Eight Amendment of the US Constitution (see Furman v Georgia for example). There are, therefore, legal bases for the clamor against death penalty and it should already drive a movement towards criminal justice reform.Perhaps, reflecting a change in public and policy perspectives, there is now an increasing decline of executions since the 1990s. Frantzen, del Carmen and Vollum noted that criminal executions have declined at least 75 percent since 1996 and fewer states seem to be implementing it. The United States Supreme Court has noted this development, pointing to an emerging decency that imply a national consensus about the cruelty of harsh punishments on criminal offenders (see Atkins v Virginia; Roper v. However, if one evaluates this development, the drop comes from the unwillingness on the part of implementing agencies to carry out executions. The law still remains in effect in the majority of the US states and courts are hard pressed to mete out these punishments because that is what the law mandates.Unarguably, there are strong legal, moral and ethical arguments behind the abolition of the death penalty. This should be part of the reorientation of the American criminal justice system towards one that is more effective and meaningful in deterring crime. The current framework has been recognized to be failing and a fresh look at alternatives such as restorative justice could just be the step in the right direction. Failing to do so would mean a great injustice done especially as human life is at stake. This is the foundation of humanitarianism, one of the core values that typify an enlightened society where human life is held sacred and is not violated while human suffering of any kind is never sanctioned. Choosing restorative justice instead of capital punishment is, therefore, appropriate for America because it is aligned with its legal and humanitarian social
Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304. U.S. Supreme Court. 2002.
Banner, Stuart. The Death Penalty: an American history. Harvard University Press, 2009. Print.
Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238. U.S. Supreme Court. 1972.
Frantzen, Durant, del Carmen, Rolando and Vollum, Scott. The Death Penalty: Constitutional Issues, Commentaries, and Case Briefs. London: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Hess, Karen and Orthman, Caroline. Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. New York: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Hood, Roger and Deva, Surya. Confronting Capital Punishment in Asia: Human Rights, Politics and Public Opinion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551. U.S. Supreme Court. 2005.
Zimring, Franklin and Simon, William. The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.
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