The two questions on the controversial topic of the death penalty in america

Death Penalty Timeline A timeline of important court cases and legal milestones since The debate over capital punishment has been heating up, prompted by two high-profile Supreme Court cases. The first case, Baze v. Rees, tested the constitutionality of the most commonly used form of lethal injection.

The two questions on the controversial topic of the death penalty in america

Clayton Lockett, convicted of raping and murdering a year-old girl, was due to be executed at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. Prison officials later said Lockett died of a heart attack about 40 minutes after a doctor administered the initial drug, and stated the botched execution was a result of a "vein failure" that had "burst.

The brutal mishap has again put a spotlight on the morality of the death penalty and has called into question the cocktail of secret drugs administered to Lockett. Below, Mashable answers some basic questions about the death penalty and how the process of lethal injection is carried out.

Which countries have the death penalty?

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The United States is one of 58 nations that still practices capital punishment, along with Ethiopia, Afghanistan and North Korea. Japan and India are the only other major democratic nations that carry out this form of punishment. Of the countries recognized by the Death Penalty Information Center, 98 forbid capital punishment.

Seven of those countries allow it only in the case of "exceptional crimes," such as one committed under military law. In the map below, click "legend" in the top left corner to see what the colors designate. How many states in the U. Capital punishment is still legal in 32 states.

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Maryland was the latest to outlaw the death penalty inthough the ruling was not retroactive; the five inmates on death row there are still due to be executed. The same is true for Connecticut and New Mexico, which outlawed the death penalty in andrespectively.

Click "legend" at the top left corner of the map below to see what the colors represent. Where in the U. As you can see in the map above, Texas has carried out the most executions in the U. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, executing people.

Virginia and Oklahoma have executed people each over the same time frame, with Florida executing 86 inmates and Missouri executing Texas, it should be noted, has executed more people than all those states combined. Do Americans support the use of capital punishment?

Number of Executions in Each State Since 1977

Though the population as a whole is slightly in favor of capital punishment, the Death Penalty Information Center says some prominent minority groups are not. For African Americans, those numbers are an even greater contrast to the general population.

How many states use other methods of execution, aside from lethal injection? Lethal injection is the only means of execution for 20 of the 32 states that practice capital punishment.

It is the primary option in all of those states but four. Some states allow alternative execution methods, should the state not have the means to administer the lethal drugs or if an inmate requests a different punishment. Florida, South Carolina and Virginia allow inmates to choose between lethal injection and electrocution.

Inmates on death row in Alabama can request the electric chair. In California and Wyoming, they can ask for lethal gas. Death row inmates in Washington can ask for the gallows, too. Oklahoma allows electrocution should lethal injection ever become unconstitutional.

Utah has a similar clause, but favors a firing squad instead of the chair. How does someone wind up on death row? In states with the death penalty, a person who is convicted of first-degree murder or treason is likely to wind up on death row. But depending on the state, crimes including severe sexual battery, capital kidnapping, aircraft hijacking, "drug crimes," arson and resisting arrest could also send a convict to the death chamber.

The vast majority of states, though, accept only a murder charge to consider capital punishment. How does lethal injection actually cause death?

Lethal injection usually starts by rendering a person unconscious with a powerful anesthetic, followed by a cocktail of drugs that halt key bodily functions. Vecuronium bromide is a neuromuscular blocking agentaccording to the website of the FDA.

The two questions on the controversial topic of the death penalty in america

Like midazolam, it is also used in hospitals and can be administered in tandem with general anesthesia as an additional relaxant. Potassium chloride is then used to stop the heart. Though potassium chloride can be taken in supplements by an otherwise healthy person with low levels of potassium, a high dosage of this chemical compound is deadly.The BIG Issues Find some of the most controversial debate topics covering a wide variety of issues ranging from politics and religion to education and society.

The controversial debate topics are arranged in a pro-con format that allows keeping our debates organized and ensuring that both sides of a particular issue get equal exposure. Death Penalty Essay Topics The topic of "death penalty" is hundreds of years old and the arguments for and against the subject can fill a few hundred libraries.

Considering the controversy and the vast history of the death penalty, teachers are fond of assigning a project, essay, or paper to students on this topic. Jun 26,  · The debate over the death penalty has been complicated in recent years by such concerns as the fairness of the criminal justice system, the role of doctors in carrying out executions, and the possibility of reform .

The death penalty, a constant source of controversy and divided opinion, is the punishment of death given to criminals who commit severe crimes. As the severity of crimes that attract the death penalty is debatable, so is its correctness and effectiveness.

The BIG Issues Find some of the most controversial debate topics covering a wide variety of issues ranging from politics and religion to education and society. The controversial debate topics are arranged in a pro-con format that allows keeping our debates organized and ensuring that both sides of a particular issue get equal exposure.

Abolish or Not that is the Question In recent discussions of the death penalty, a controversial issue has been if capital punishment should be abolished or not. On the one hand, some argue that the death penalty is too costly.

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