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Abolishing the Death Penalty in Louisiana


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Capital Punishment

Capital punishment should be abolished in Louisiana in order to optimize rehabilitation methods and increase spending in more important areas of the state budget.
One alternative to the death penalty is rehabilitation. Prisons in Louisiana should not be viewed solely as confinement for inmates, but as a last resort for those looking to make serious life changes, even if they are condemned to life in prison. Since prisons are rapidly reaching maximum capacity, the government should really be looking to reform its current statutes to provide a rehabilitation center for criminals and provide a safer environment for all involved in the prison system. Prisons that have implemented rehabilitation programs such as The Second Chance Program have documented a 10% decrease in criminal recidivism. In turn, fewer prisoners are coming through the judicial system. Prisoners that desire to once again become contributing members of society should be urged to do so, and should be given the necessary materials in order to achieve this. Rehabilitation can also include things like job training and education. Statistics show that well educated criminals are less likely to relapse into a life of crime and are more likely to continue using their learned skills, even if they have been granted life without parole.
Although some claim that “getting rid” of Louisiana’s worst criminals gives the public peace of mind, this peace of mind comes at a tremendous cost. The extra money spent on the death penalty could be spent on other means of achieving justice and making the community safer: compensation for victims, better lighting in crime areas, more police on the streets, even longer periods of incarceration for certain offenders, or projects to reduce unemployment. Quite a few jurisdictions with the death penalty have recently had to cut back on other vital services. In some states, people are being released from prison early as a cost saving measure. Other states are closing libraries and government funded offices. A second reason why the costs of the death penalty are so central is that they play a key role in how the death penalty is implemented. Supporters and opponents of the death penalty agree that the capital punishment system should not take unnecessary risks with innocent lives and should be applied with a strict fairness. As with many things, the death penalty really isn’t a bargain. There is no abstract dollar figure for the cost of the death penalty and it depends on the quality of the system one demands.

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