The death penalty tends to be a very hotly-contested subject, and people on both sides have many arguments for or against the practice. The reasons given for opposing the death penalty range from humanitarian concerns to issues of practicality. Some people believe that the death penalty can be used in a biased fashion, while other worry greatly about the possibility of innocent people being put to death. There are also people who believe the death penalty might be ineffective as a way of lowering crime rates and others who feel it makes the legal system inefficient.
Some countries and locations have death penalty laws, while others do not, and the arguments often center around the crime rates in different areas with opposing policies. Many studies have shown that murders are sometimes higher in areas where death penalty prosecutions are most common. Some experts have theorized that this is because people in these regions are more afraid of being caught and, therefore, more likely to murder witnesses.
One of the primary reasons often given for opposing the death penalty is the possibility of a false conviction leading to the punishment of an innocent person. There have been cases over the years where evidence was disproved after an execution and many cases where conclusive evidence saved someone from execution at the last moment. Those who use this argument as a reason for being in opposition to the death penalty believe that the chance for a mistake is too great, regardless of the relative effectiveness of the death penalty.
Another reason some people give for opposing the death penalty is the cost. Most areas with death penalty laws also allow for many more appeals in capital punishment cases. Usually, criminals convicted in death penalty trials will gradually use up those appeals over years and years, and it can be very expensive for the state to continually go through the prosecutions. According to some experts, the amount of money spent on these trials will usually exceed the cost required to keep a person in prison for life.
One of the most passionately-expressed reasons for opposing the death penalty is the concern that it may be biased. Even though most agree that modern laws are usually written without an intentional racial or financial bias, people with more money and social status are often able to get a better defense because they can afford more accomplished lawyers and pay for more impressive expert witnesses. Some people also believe that the racial composition of a jury can often give minorities a huge disadvantage. There are statistics regarding death penalty convictions which are more racially lopsided than some would think, and this is often used as strong evidence for opposing the death penalty.