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Death Penalty Too Costly

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The United States still executes criminals for particularly serious crimes. It remains one of the few first-world nations to do so. For years and years, advocates have stated that the threat of death serves as an effective restraint and lowers the number of serious crimes committed. Opponents have argued the opposite, and believe that eye-for-an-eye justice doesn't work. They claim it's barbaric too. And what's more, opponents have feared that an innocent person may be put to death. They point to DNA evidence, which has freed more than 200 inmates previously on death row in the US, for example. Sloppy investigation is also a problem. Nevertheless, many states may soon get rid of the controversial death penalty because of the cost.

barbaric too. And what's more, opponents have feared that an innocent person may be put to death. They point to DNA evidence, which has freed more than 200 inmates previously on death row in the US, for example. Sloppy investigation is also a problem. Nevertheless, many states may soon get rid of the controversial death penalty because of the cost.

States have begun to examine all sorts of policies because they want to lower budgets and limit layoffs. Inmates sentenced to death row have and use the opportunity to appeal the decision. This bogs down courts and costs taxpayers money. It can take roughly ten to twenty years before the person is put to death. In some states, it takes a lot longer. That means it costs roughly $4 million per inmate, which is a frighteningly high cost in the current economic situation.

Life in prison without any chance for parole costs ten times less than an execution. That's a lot of money even in more prosperous economic times. But politicians are picking apart budgets and slashing costs to make ends meet. That means finance and not morals may have finally changed the attitude to the death penalty in the US.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. The death penalty reduces the number of serious crimes.
  2. Executions should be shown on TV. This will reduce the number of serious crimes.
  3. All criminals should be executed.
  4. Only barbaric countries with poor laws have the death penalty.
  5. The death penalty costs a lot of money.

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. Opponents have argued the opposite, and believe that...
  2. Nevertheless, many states may soon get rid of...
  3. Inmates sentenced to death row have and...
  4. That means it costs roughly $4 million per inmate, which is a...
  5. That means finance and not morals may have...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Can you think of three reasons why supporters think the death penalty works?
  2. What are your opinions on each of the reasons in the previous question? Please explain.
  3. Can you think of three reasons why opponents think the death penalty doesn't work?
  4. What are your opinions on each of the reasons in the previous question? Please explain.
  5. Does your country have the death penalty? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "death penalty" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


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