Death penalty – for and against essay, how to start?

Death penalty – for and against essay, how to start?
How should I start my essay (topic for and against death penalty)? And ideas how to continue are also welcome. Thanks.

You don’t have to sympathize with criminals or want them to avoid severe punishments for serious crimes to ask if the death penalty prevents or even reduces crime, to look at costs, alternatives and to think about the risks of executing innocent people.

130 people on death rows have been released with proof that they were wrongfully convicted. DNA, available in less than 10% of all homicides, can’t guarantee we won’t execute innocent people. If someone is convicted and later found innocent you can release him from prison, but not from the grave.

The death penalty doesn’t prevent others from committing murder. No reliable study shows the death penalty deters others. Homicide rates are higher in states and regions that have it than in those that don’t.

Life without parole, on the books in 48 states, also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending 23 of 24 hours a day locked in a tiny cell is not a picnic. Life without parole costs less than the death penalty.

The death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison, mostly because of the upfront costs of legal process which is supposed to prevent executions of innocent people. (upfront=pre trial and trial level)

The death penalty isn’t reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It doesn’t apply to people with money. When is the last time a wealthy person was on death row, let alone executed?

Families of murder victims are not unanimous about the death penalty. However, even families who have supported the death penalty in principal have testified that the drawn-out death penalty process is painful for them and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative.

Problems with speeding up the process. Over 50 of the innocent people released from death row had already served over a decade. Speed up the process and we will execute innocent people.


Death Penalty Information Center,, for stats on executions, reports on costs, deterrence studies, links to FBI crime stats and links to testimony (at state legislatures) of victims’ family members.


The Innocence Project,… page 3 and 4 on why the death penalty is so expensive… and for statements of victims’ families

Terrific resource specifically for students writing papers or debaters at It has links to both sides (click on curriculum) and is easy to navigate.