Youth Justice in America, Second Edition engages students in an exciting, informed discussion of the U.S. juvenile justice system and fills a pressing need to make legal issues personally meaningful to young people. Written in a straightforward style, the book addresses tough, important issues that directly affect today’s youth, including the rights of accused juveniles, search and seizure, self-incrimination and confession, right to appeal, and the death penalty for juveniles. Focusing on cases that relate to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the subject matter comes alive through a wide variety of in-book learning aids.
Chapter 9: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
The Death Penalty Today
In the United States, the death penalty, or “capital punishment,” has been available since the nation was founded. The underlying justification for the death penalty is that, for every crime committed, there should be a proportional punishment. Some people believe that for especially heinous crimes, the only fitting and proportional punishment is death. Others argue that we do not assault assailants, rob robbers, or rape rapists, so why should we murder murderers?
Today, critics of the death penalty argue that the extremely high costs, stark racial disparities in sentencing, and high number of wrongful convictions associated with it justify its abolition. Since 2000, the number of people on death row has steadily declined. In 2013, ...