The Death Penalty Opinion Essay Samples

   An article ran in the January issue of The 21st Century supporting the death penalty. I feel that it is important to print an article in opposition to capital punishment.

The death penalty has always been one of the most hotly debated issues in the United States. As our country grows older and wiser, however, evidence clearly points to the fact that the death penalty is not a good solution.

There is no question that killing another person is the most heinous crime that one can commit. I am not sure why, but it seems that our government is being hypocritical when it states that capital punishment is allowable because, after all, the criminal did murder an innocent victim, and therefore should be killed. This is known as the "eye-for-an-eye, and tooth-for-a- tooth theory." Of course, if we used this system all the time, there would be no need for laws. If someone hits me, I would hit him/her back. How simple, we can all be primitive again.

A second argument that some people use to support capital punishment is that the fear of being given the death penalty is going to stop criminals from murdering. How many criminals would murder in the first place, even in a state where there is no capital punishment, if they thought there was a chance of getting caught? Most murderers feel that they have a fool-proof plan to get away with murder. Unfortunately, most are right.

In response, I believe that the Bill of Rights, specifically the Eighth Amendment, prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. If there is any punishment much crueler than death, please let me know.

In addition, it is time to face the fact that our judicial system is prejudiced. For instance; in southern states, 8 percent of the black criminals who murder get the death penalty. Only 1 percent of white murderers get capital punishment. Also, murderers are seven times more likely to get the death penalty for murdering a white person as they are if they murdered a black person. This strikes me as blatant prejudice.

Finally and most importantly, no one, including a judge, is perfect. What happens if a person is given capital punishment and evidence turns up later which reveals that this person is innocent? If the "criminal" was put in jail, at least partial reparations could be made later. Obviously, if a person is given the death penalty, there is no turning back.

Indeed, it is not fair that murderers are often given parole after only a few years in jail. That is the reason that I would suggest those convicted of murder should be jailed for life with no option for parole. No matter how good the murderer is in jail, he/she should not be given parole. There are plenty of bridges and roads that need to be repaired. Let the convicted murderer work for the public good for the rest of his life. True, this will never make up totally for the misery of the victim's loved ones. But at this point in time, it seems better than the alternative.n


This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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IELTS band 9 essay: death penalty

Here you can find advice how to structure IELTS essay and IELTS model answer for death penalty topic. Question type: advantages and disadvantages.

Here is the question card:


So this is the advantage/disadvantage essay. In this essay you're asked about:

  1. Advantages of capital punishment
  2. Disadvantages of capital punishment
  3. Your opinion about it

Before writing this IELTS essay, you should decide what’s your opinion and then choose your arguments to describe pros and cons of death penalty. You don’t have to make up very complicate ideas. Even simple, but well-written arguments can often give you a band 9 for writing.


Some of the possible arguments:

  1. Disadvantages of capital punishment:
    • we have no rights to kill other humans
    • innocent people can be killed because of unfair sentences
    • even criminals deserve a second chance

  2. Advantages of capital punishment:
    • it prevents major crimes
    • it restores equilibrium of justice
    • it lessens expenses on maintenance of prisoners

How to structure my answer?

Surely, there are a lot of ways to organise this essay. But here is one possible way of structuring the answer to produce a band 9 essay:

Introduction: rephrase the topic and state your opinion.

Body paragraphs:

  • paragraph 1: disadvantages of death penalty
  • paragraph 2: advantages of death penalty

Conclusion: sum up the ideas from body paragraphs and briefly give your opinion.


Band 9 essay sample (death penalty)

Many people believe that death penalty is necessary to keep security system efficient in the society. While there are some negative aspects of capital punishment, I agree with the view that without it we will become more vulnerable to violence.

Death penalty can be considered unsuitable punishment for several reasons. The strongest argument is that we have no rights to kill other humans. Right to live is the basic right of any human being, and no one can infringe this right, irrespective of the person’s deeds. Moreover, innocent people can face wrongful execution. Such unfair sentences take away lives of innocent people and make other citizens lose faith in law and justice. And besides, sometimes criminals repent of their acts. In this case they should be given a second chance to improve themselves.

However, I believe that capital punishment is necessary in the society. Firstly, it is an effective deterrent of major crimes. The best method to prevent a person from committing crime is to show the consequences of his or her actions. For example, the government of Pakistan has controlled the rate of terrorism by enforcing death penalties for the members of terrorist organisations. Secondly, the governments spend large sums of national budget on maintenance of prisoners. Instead, this money can be used for the development of the society and welfare of the people.

To sum up, although capital punishment has some disadvantages, I think that it proves to be the best way of controlling criminals, lessening governmental expenses and preventing other people from doing crimes.

(257 words)


Useful vocabulary

capital punishment = death penalty

to commit a crime - to do a crime

deterrent of major crimes - something that prevents big crimes

to face wrongful execution - to be mistaken for a criminal and killed for that

to infringe someone’s right - restrict someone’s right, hurt someone’s interests

innocent people - people who are not guilty or responsible for crimes

to repent of something - to feel sorry for something

right to live is basic right of any human being

unfair sentence - not fair judgement

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