Articles About Death Penalty: Top 5 Examples and 6 Prompts

The death penalty has been a controversial topic since its establishment. See our top picks for articles about death penalty examples, plus prompts you can use.

King Hammurabi’s codification of the death penalty during the 18th century B.C. influenced how we deal with crimes today. Although the number of cases resulting in the death penalty has gradually declined, many still wonder if this capital punishment suits those who commit heinous crimes. The death penalty is a complex subject touching on other topics such as human rights and justice. If you’re looking for another related issue, check out our essays about justice.

Articles About Death Penalty Examples

1. Why the Fight for Racial Justice in the U.S. Requires the  Abolition of the Death Penalty by Bharat Malkani

“Today, the race of the victim – rather than the race of the defendant – plays a role in determining whether a person is sentenced to death. You are far more likely to be sentenced to death for killing a white person, than for killing a Black person.”

Malkani’s article tackles black people’s continuous fight against racial injustice, including the abolition of the death penalty. The author delves into current systematic racism connected to the death penalty and the history of the colonial era when only enslaved people were subject to punishments

The writer also describes lynching and the campaigns against it, resulting in a decrease in extrajudicial killings. The article shows that the death penalty abolition in 1972 was somewhat ineffective as it was reinstated in several states due to public backlash. Malkani calls for racial justice and supports the end of the death penalty and executions.

2. America’s Death Penalty Divide: Why Capital Punishment Is Getting Better, and Worse by Ed Pilkington

“Virginia’s seismic shift away from judicial killings has created a death penalty-free zone on the north-east seaboard of the U.S. that runs from Maine’s border with Canada down to the edge of the Carolinas. A similar zone now runs all the way down the west coast of the U.S.”

In this article, Pilkington explains that the abolition of capital punishments that began in Virginia resulted in a death penalty-free zone throughout America. However, the states that retain the death penalty exhibit a variety of wrong applications, such as a disregard for due process, flawed enforcement, racism, and a biased criminal system.

After presenting the recent number of death sentences and executions in different states, Pilkington talks about the executions during the Trump administration. Those executed include a mentally ill woman, a disabled man, and an innocent man. He reports that anti-death penalty supporters hope to end the death penalty and change it to life imprisonment.

3. Killers of Black People Less Likely To Face U.S. Death Penalty Than Black Criminals: Report by Colleen Long

“Since the death penalty resumed in 1977, 295 Black defendants were executed for killing a white victim, but only 21 white defendants were executed for the killing of a Black victim even though Black people are disproportionately the victims of crime.”

This article concerns the relationship between lynching and executions to the death penalty. Long explains that while black people have always been on death row, recently, it has dropped to 42% black inmates while 60% are white. However, the article also shows evidence that black people who kill a white person are at a higher risk of facing the death penalty.

An interview found that black people are often victims of homicide, but the criminal system fails to give them justice. Long includes a case study to help readers better understand ​​how race influences the justice and punishment they receive.

4. Malaysia Agrees To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty by Associated Press

The death penalty in Malaysia mandates hanging as punishment for a range of crimes, including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping and acts of terror.”

The above article reports abolishing Malaysia’s mandatory death penalty for 11 offenses. Journalists discuss that the government will study proposed alternative punishments for all violations that trigger or are likely to trigger the death sentence. It says the decision was made to protect and guarantee the rights of all citizens and improve the country’s criminal justice system.

Although the Malaysian government promised to abolish the hanging of criminals years ago, it has yet to prove its stand on the matter. Rights groups are asking the country to cooperate and make the necessary amendments as soon as possible.

5. Singapore Tightens Rules on Last-minute Death Penalty Appeals by Al Jazeera

“New law follows a series of late-stage applications filed by prisoners after exhausting the appeal and clemency process.”

Jazeera discusses new amendments to post-appeal applications against executions. Reporters say the further modifications will not affect a person’s access to justice but will guide them in processing and considering these applications. Under the new law, only prisoners with new relevant evidence can apply, and only Singapore’s Court of Appeal will grant the application.

The country currently has ten executions and 60 people on death row. These people are often drug offenders —from someone carrying small amounts of illegal substances to large-scale drug trafficking. The country believes the death penalty saves lives by stopping drug-related crimes.

6 Writing Prompts for Articles About Death Penalty

1. Death Penalty Exemptions

Death penalty exemptions
In this prompt, describe the criteria under such categories and identify other groups banned from death sentences

People with disabilities, those under 18 years of age, and those with mental illness are exempt from the death penalty. Describe the criteria under such categories and identify other groups banned from death sentences. Then, point out why these groups are spared from execution, including the alternative punishments they receive instead of the death penalty.

2. Wrong Convictions and the Death Penalty

English jurist William Blackstone argued, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.” Despite the law trying to uphold this principle, several innocent people are still imprisoned and sentenced to death. Write an article digging into the cases and statistics concerned with the miscarriage of justice, such as the number of innocent people on death row, and programs relevant to the topic, like the Innocence Project. Then, discuss the common factors that lead to these errors and give examples.

3. Everything Wrong With the Death Penalty

There are various reasons why many want to stop the death penalty. A common rationale is that it’s often imposed on poor people who can’t afford to hire a competent attorney. In your article, tackle the other grounds why people want to end the death penalty and support these motives with research and expert comments. For instance, many are against the death penalty because it doesn’t lessen violent crimes, it’s irreversible, and politicians exploit it for their benefit.

4. Why We Need the Death Penalty

In contrast with the previous prompt, focus your article on why some people are in favor of the death penalty. A common reason includes the victims’ families asking the criminal to pay with their lives to ensure society’s safety. You can interview professionals and ordinary people to find out which crimes they think deserve the death penalty and add their reasons for supporting it. Then, suggest what the government, lawyers, and judges can do to ensure they convict guilty criminals.

5. Death Penalty and Its Methods of Execution

Death penalty and its methods of execution
In this prompt, present the similarities and differences in how these territories handle execution by describing their applied methods

There are 92 countries that use the death penalty as punishment. Identify which countries have the death penalty and why they keep it in their systems. Then, present the similarities and differences in how these territories handle execution by describing their applied methods. For example, the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law chose between lethal injection or shooting when imposing the death penalty.

6. Do Criminals Deserve the Death Penalty?

Many people favor the death penalty for someone who has committed unforgivable crimes such as murder. Answer the question in this prompt with evidence gathered through extensive research, including interviews with experts on the subject. To gauge public opinion, find surveys or collect answers online or in person. You can also add related concerts such as human rights, and religious beliefs. For help editing your articles, we recommend using the best grammar checker. Our round-up profiles these tools and offers discounts.