OPINION: To Be or Not to Be for the Death Penalty?

By: Bryan Cornelio
OwlFeed Journalist

As of recent, the death penalty has once again been brought to question. People have begun bringing back debates over the moral aspects of capital punishment.

On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis declared war against the death penalty, resulting in many taking differing stances, some agreeing with the practice while others are found leaning support toward the Pope‘s belief that “..the death penalty [is] unacceptable in all cases.”

The Pope also claims that the death penalty should be considered an “attack” on human decency. This resulted in an official declaration of war from the Catholic Church against capital punishment worldwide.

In the past the Church supported capital punishment, defending the practice as the only feasible way to defend the lives of others. But with the recent declaration against it, abolishing the death penalty has now become one of the Pope’s greatest goals.

With the issue reappearing again, many individuals have begun forming their own personal stances based on other factors, alongside those of morality and ethics. Calculus teacher at Agua Fria High School, Kolton Boothman, doesn’t see “how it helps nor… solve[s] anything,” and thus does not support the death penalty. Boothman suggests that definitive systemic changes are essential to be made as he believes that as a society “we overhaul people with an emphasis on statistics, shown by race and gender.” He thoroughly believes that overall society disproportionately jails people of color.

“Death is final,” Boothman claimed in response to the idea, and “our justice system can never possibly be as accurate as it needs to be to be able to have a punishment that’s so final… In the past there’s a lot of evidence where we can find cases that overruled.”

On the other hand, Dylan McAllister, a current correctional officer at maximum custody unit on Defense Paralegal Specialist in the U.S. Army, shares his beliefs regarding how the death penalty is a necessary practice to be enacted by the government.

“After being in an occupation where a lot of guys are serving life in prison, I’ve bore witness to the inhumane conditions they’re living,” McAllister said. He believes that, in accordance with the claim that capital punishment is an attack on human decency, we as a society should embrace the practice as in his career he’s known many criminals who pray every day for their lives to end.

“We should let people choose whether or not they should have a death sentence as a final human right,” McAllister commented. “I feel like if you’re sentenced to life in prison you should be given choice.”


As a correction officer, nearly every day there’s a guaranteed suicide attempt made by inmates who are fed up of being treated how they are. He brings up the point that in some countries, such as Canada, they’ve recently approved government assisted suicide because living objectively is a choice and it should be up to a person to live or to die when forced into a state of torture or suffering.

I firmly believe that capital punishment should be a practice that comes back to the system. Although, it is true that tweaks should be made in the current system regarding the death penalty, considerations such as human error that, as Boothman said, is “something that can be unavoidable.”

The death penalty should be a choice given as a right to individuals given life in prison, because at the end of the day crimes will never be black and white. There’s always a chance that an innocent person ends up behind bars. Even beyond this, however, keeping an overpopulated facility that inhabits miserable individuals hoping for death serves as something even more cruel.