The latest information from Amnesty International shows that over half the countries in the world have banned capital punishment (Amnesty International). Of these, 78 countries have banished the death penalty for all crimes, 15 have abolished the death penalty for all but the most exceptional crimes, and 24 have can be considered abolitionist in practice: they retain the death penalty but have not carried it out in the past 10 years. Seventy-eight other countries use the death penalty very sparingly. America is not one of those countries. Once the death penalty is abolished, it is rarely reintroduced: it was in America. Since 1990, America is one of only 8 countries which have been known to execute people who were under age 18 at the time they committed the crime.
The death penalty persists in America, yet scientific studies have shown that it does not have a deterrent effect greater than any other punishment, (Amnesty International). The most recent survey of this research data was conducted for the United Nations in 2002. Other research done for the United Nations and updated in 2002 also shows that there is no evidence for an upsurge in crime once the death penalty is abolished. In Canada, for instance, the homicide rate has continued to decline ever since the death penalty was abolished 26 years ago.
Four treaties now exist for states committed to abolishing the death penalty (Amnesty International). The Protocol to the American States on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty has been ratified by 8 states so far and signed by one other. This Protocol allows for the retention of the death penalty by ratifiers in times of war.
As long as countries retain the death penalty, there is a risk of executing the innocent (Amnesty International). In the United States, at least 112 prisoners have been released from death row since 1973 after evidence has proved their innocence of crimes for which they were convi...