The Death Penalty: Is It Truly a Form Of Action, Or Is It Just More Unnecessary Violence?


With widely popular cases, such as the recent death penalty case of Brandon Bernard, we take a look at why the death penalty shouldn’t still be used as a form of lawful punishment in this country

Ever since 1988 when the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in the United States, the ongoing debate over whether or not it is a useful form of criminal punishment continues to remain prevalent. According to, 22 prisoners were executed in 2019, and as per Wikipedia, 10 federal death row inmates have been executed since July 2020. 

With all this in mind, one question still remains: Is the death penalty a proper form of punishment for criminals? Does anyone, no matter what they have done, deserve death?

Before indulging in my own research, I used to always think that heinous criminals on death row who end up being executed deserved that form of punishment. Now, with cases such as the Brandon Bernard case gaining popularity amongst people on social media, I seem to think that the death penalty simply doesn’t make sense. Why let someone die after committing such terrible crimes, instead of sending them to prison or through a reforment system to truly understand their actions? Death to me seems to be too much of an easy way out, and in some cases too inhumane for those who may think certain criminals deserve it.

Brandon Bernard, a 40 year-old man from Killeen, Texas, was killed on death row this month in Indiana for the robbery, kidnapping, and murder of Todd and Stacie Bagley. As per The Sun, Bernard’s attorney’s have stated that he was only an accomplice to the crime alongside other men, and yet his execution still took place 21 years after the initial crime occured. With differing opinions and people’s own versions of the role Bernard played in the crime, people have begun taking sides on the death penalty debate.

Even celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West have expressed her concerns about the case, and was devastated to hear about Bernard’s death, just shortly after speaking to him on death row.

West even tweeted this on Dec 10: “1 hour until Brandon Bernard will be executed. It’s #HumanRightsDay and here in the United States we are executing someone who was 18 at the time of the crime, was not the shooter and has rehabilitated himself. So shameful.”

Yes, Brandon Bernard was a convicted criminal who did in fact commit a multifaceted crime, but can we as humans truly decide who gets to die and who gets to live? Should we be given that power? Does race play a part in who dies on death row, and is the system actually corrupt? You see, with the death penalty comes many questions about morality and inhumanity, and if people in power should be asked to make choices about someone’s life or lack thereof it. 

The death penalty is powerful enough to set different racial groups at a disproportion, with most convicted criminals being people of color, and is something that can never be undone, leading me and others to believe that it simply does more harm than good. states that “there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment”, and “states that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws”. 

So, with all this in mind, it is up to us as a collective to decide whether or not the death penalty should still be a form of punishment in this country, or if it needs to be replaced with forms of jail time or rehabilitation. 

People can heal, people can learn, people can change, and people can repent. Not all will, but some definitely do, some of whom are currently on death row.

Shall we continue to try and stop the spread of violence with more violence, or must we find another way to deter crime in this country?