Should the US abolish the death penalty?

Background

Solve the puzzles linked above to see the top arguments on both sides, courtesy of our friends at Close Up.

Today, the United States is one of 56 countries that use the death penalty. It is legal at the federal level but about half of the states have abolished it.

Since 1973, over 1500 Americans have been executed. More than half of these executions took place in three states: Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma. At least 185 former death row inmates have been exonerated of all charges due to wrongful convictions.

To see the top arguments on both sides, check out the maps linked below or the puzzles linked above!

Discussion Questions

1.) If you think the death penalty should be abolished, what sentence do you propose for the most heinous criminals?

2.) When, if ever, is it OK to take a human life, and why?

3.) If you think the US should keep the death penalty, is it because you think the worst criminals deserve it, or to try prevent more people from committing crimes? Support your answer with reasons.

4.) Regardless of your view on this topic, what do you think is best argument *against* your view and why is it a good argument?

(For teaching resources to improve classroom discussions, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers page!)

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