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Capital Punishment in the USA

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Capital punishment in the US contrasts by jurisdiction. Generally, in practice it only applies for aggravated murder and in rare occasions for felony murder. It is true that even during the time of colonies that predated the United States, capital punishment existed and also were later annexed to the United States of America under the law of their mother countries and continued to have effect up to date.    

Methods of capital punishment or execution

Currently in the United States, there are a total number of five methods of execution which are used in killing the convicted criminal sentenced of death penalty. To begin with, lethal injection is being used by 36 states in America. This is the most commonly used method of execution in US. Preparation begins outside the chamber with the use of a gurney. In this method the convict is held to the gurney by wrist and ankle straps and there is then a cardiac monitor and stethoscope attached then started. In every arm there is a saline intravenous line and then the convict is covered by a sheet, the lines are then turned off and felony receives the first injection of sodium thiopental. This process keeps the felony to sleep and then later relaxes the muscle and stops breathing (Thomas, 1998).

The second execution is electrocution done by putting the convict in a wooden chair where they are then secured by leather straps. Then the electric current runs from the head down to the legs. The first current is of a thousand volts in roughly three seconds and the voltage is then lowered to prevent the body from burning. The electric current forces the convict to surge onward and the shock burns the internal organs and leaves the person dead.

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In the third method, the prisoner is put in a sealed chamber and restrained in the chair. The first thing is done by signaling a valve which is opened which releases HCL acid into the pan. The tablet of almost 8 ounce of potassium is dropped into the acid and the combination creates a hydrocyanic gas. The fumes out of this combination are a deadly gas, which in the long run kills.

The fourth one is execution by means of hanging which is based on the individual’s weight. The right amount must be measured since it is required in “the drop” in order to ensure that the death is instant. This is done using a noose placed behind the person’s ear. When dropped the person’s neck is dislocated and that causes death (Thomas, 1998).

The last execution is by shooting done by firing squad. This is the oldest but the most popular all over the world. This is also used by more than 60 countries including US where only there states use shooting as a sentence to the death penalty. The prisoner is put on a chair behind an oval wall and then the doctor locates the heart using stethoscope and then place a target over it.

Statistics about Capital punishment

There were 37 executions in the year 2008 and that was the lowest record ever since 1994 and this was largely as a result of lethal injection lawsuit. There were 52 executions in the United States In 2009 whereby 52 lethal injections and 1 electric chair were applied in Virginia. A total of 35 were convicted of robbery and rape cases. According to public opinion, the United States has been overwhelming supportive of the death penalty in the past few years; a 2010 Gallup polls indicated that 65% of Americans were in favor of death penalty in cases of murder and only 29% were against it (Böckle, & Jacques1979). The highest recorded number was 80% in 1994 whereby only 16 opposed and the lowest recorded was in 1966 when 42% supported and 47% opposed (James, 1997). When given an option of between death penalty and life imprisonment without parole in 2010 polls; a total of 49% supported death penalty while 46% were in favor of life imprisonment.  

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