Toe2Toe

Death penalty is worthy punishment for heinous crimes
By Ashley Smith

Since the death penalty has recently been brought back into the spotlight by Alaska legislature, many Alaskans are scrutinizing facts vs. opinion. But the deterrence of crime brought on by the fear of the death penalty cannot be denied. With the sexual assault rate at nearly three times the national average, Alaska has been plagued with this title for years. Despite the effort put into The criminal justice system, it is obvious that something is not working. One indisputable fact for criminal punishment is that when a criminal is sentenced to death:
there are no repeat offenses. With today’s technology, there are far fewer cases of falsely charged felons, therefore there is a lesser chance to execute the innocent. A common argument against this punishment is that the death penalty violates the “Cruel and Unusual” punishment clause in the Bill of Rights. But this just shows the illogical sympathy that we have for criminals that have committed heinous crimes. What about the victims who suffered a cruel death? What about the surviving families that have to live with the loss of a loved one? These are the individuals to whom sympathy should be given. Another argument that excludes emotions is the fact that life in prison costs taxpayers less than an execution. Much of the cost of the death penalty is the redundant appeals, the other processes of the of the court system should be revised, not the death penalty. Ultimately, criminals that are deserving of capital punishment should receive it. It brings along with a strong deterrence factor, something Alaska needs at this point in its history.

Archaic methods no use in modern society
By Brianna Dym

There is currently a bill in Alaska legislation (HB9) calling for capital punishment to be implemented into the state’s criminal justice system. This is a bad idea not only because of the moral headaches and nonsense  behind it, but because of the problems and entanglements it will make within the courts and other branches of the state. To begin with, it is an archaic idea of killing murderers to make an example of how it is wrong. The whole punishment reeks of the old standard of Hammurabi’s Code, an eye for an eye, a life
for a life. Next thing you know, punishment for stealing will be cutting off the hands of thieves. Is lifetime incarceration not enough? Is it not enough to be forever disconnected from the world in a cold little prison cell with no freedoms compared to the glories of the outside world? It is written in America’s laws that killing a person is wrong. It seems completely backwards that punishment for murder
or other vile crimes should be death as well. There is also the problem of the courts and how it will affect them with capital punishment
being part of Alaska’s system. Capital punishment will make attorneys look for more evidence where there is none to be found and people will most likely be pressured for more work out of nothing. The appeals process  will only go on to clog the courts even more and add unnecessary strains on the system. In order to advance and not put added pressures on the state, Alaska should leave behind the gallows so reminiscent of Medieval England and not pass the capital punishment bill.