Capital punishment–AKA the death penalty–has been a hot topic the last few weeks. The Supreme Court issued an opinion on July 14th that cleared the way for the Trump Administration to resume federal executions for the first time in 17 years. While Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan dissented, Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh held the majority opinion. 

Capital punishment is very often viewed as a left and right issue, but I’ve found that this really isn’t the case. According to Pew Research Center, in 2015, 40% of Democrats favored the death penalty, and 77% of Republicans favored it. That’s a lot of Republicans that aren’t for capital punishment. I spoke with 10 FFL readers–five who support the death penalty and five who don’t–to find out why they feel the way they do about capital punishment. 

5 women who do support the death penalty

Age 23, Vermont

I support the death penalty because I believe in law and order. Our society is inching towards the normalization of violence, killing innocent people, and allowing these crimes to go unpunished and the death penalty could serve as a deterrent if properly and fairly applied. I believe that if someone takes away someone else’s right to live they forfeit their right to live. A person who takes the life of another human being does not deserve to have the privilege to live in jail where they are provided three hots and a cot. In a society that has grown to coddle criminals and has submerged themselves deep in the waters of moral relativism, it is crucial to advocate for fair and just death penalty policies that seek to punish the worst criminals utilizing an equal application of the law.

Age 26, Ohio

The death penalty is meant for the most heinous crime that a person can commit. It is also meant to deter someone who is considering committing a crime to weigh the cost versus the benefit of committing that crime. However, for this reason when someone is tried, found guilty and sentenced to death the facts of the should be solid and there should be no question as to who committed the crime. 

Age 24, Pennsylvania

I strongly believe that the death penalty is a justifiable punishment for the most violent of offenders. For instance, Ted Bundy. Without the death penalty, families of victims of such heinous crimes would believe that the offenders life is worth more than the victims’. Without the death penalty, offenders would be given a sentence that they are undeserving of and it may come off as suspect-based system. The system should focus on the victim instead and execute offenders who have committed vile crimes in order to deter others from similar offenses. 

Age 25, North Carolina

In theory yes. I believe there are certain crimes that truly cannot be punished by any other means. However the current way we have it in America is costly to taxpayers and ineffective, and I also believe our prison systems needs major reforms. I also support that if innocent defendants are wrongly executed, families should be compensated. 

Age 29, Texas

The most heinous of crimes (sexual abuse against children, serial killers) should have a more severe punishment to deter people. The threat of jail time is obviously not enough for those that do not have a moral compass. There are tons of horror stories of child molesters going to jail, and then recommitting those same acts once they get out. Of course, there has to be no doubt that the person accused has committed the crime- solid evidence is important so we don’t sentence the wrong people.

5 women who do not support the death penalty

Age 30, Louisiana

I am Catholic, so I view the death penalty as an assault on human dignity and the opposite of pro-life. But even aside from religion, the cost of the Death Penalty is astronomical. It doesn’t make fiscal sense to keep pushing it.

Age 22, Alabama

I supported the death penalty up until this year. I no longer support it because I believe truly being pro-life includes being anti-death penalty. There’s too much room for error in our criminal justice system to ensure everyone on death row is actually guilty. No one’s life should be taken at the hands of another. Also, a Christian point of view is Jesus gave second changes to everyone, even murders. While I don’t think they should have extremely low sentences or even return to society at times, I think it’s important to give them a chance to change. Sentencing someone to death does the opposite of “turn the other cheek.” 

Age 19, Montana

I believe in the death penalty for people who have committed a serious crime; however,  I do not trust the government to properly decide who is innocent.  We hear of the government giving hasty appeals and executing people believed to be innocent.  And in some state’s suspected criminals don’t have a proper defense because states spend about 5x more on prosecution than defense. 

Age 27, Connecticut

It’s fiscally irresponsible. Taxpayer’s money is wasted in a never-ending  appeals process – that is also necessary due to wrongful convictions being overturned. It is less expensive to house a prisoner for life without the possibility of parole than it is to execute them. 

Age 20, Tennessee

As a Catholic, I believe in the right to life, from conception to natural death, regardless of circumstances. To me, the death penalty is a humanitarian issue, not just a criminal justice issue. Religion aside, it costs the government far more to keep a prisoner on death row than to give them a life sentence. There is also the issue of how many who have been put to death are found to be innocent. No innocent person should have to lose the basic right to life in a country founded upon that basic principle. 

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s always important to learn about both sides and do some research of your own.

Georgia G

Georgia Gallagher graduated from the University of Alabama in the summer of 2019 where she majored in Journalism and Political Science. She is currently working as a Cast Member at  Walt Disney World in Florida. In her free time she can be found advocating for pro-life policies and working with single or low-income mothers. She often says that her planner is second only to her Bible and she’s never caught without a cup of coffee in her hand.