- Parent Category: Lower-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Culture Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
The United States still executes criminals for very serious crimes. People who support the death penalty believe that the fear and threat of death reduce serious crimes. However, opponents don't believe this argument. And, maybe more importantly, innocent people could be put to death. More than 200 prisoners previously on death row have been freed because DNA showed that they didn't commit the crime.
States may get rid of the death penalty not because of ethical reasons, though. Because many states face budget crises, financial reasons may push along the change. Prisoners on death can row can appeal the decision, and it may take ten or twenty years before the person is finally put to death. That means it costs roughly $4 million per prisoner, which is a ridiculously high cost.
Life on prison without any chance to get out costs ten times less than an execution. That's a lot of money, even in more economically stable times. But politicians are looking closely at budgets in order to cut costs and make ends meet. Fewer death sentences may be the result.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- The death penalty lowers the number of serious crimes.
- Executions should be shown on TV. This will lower the number of serious crimes.
- All criminals should be executed.
- Only violent countries with poor laws have the death penalty.
- The death penalty costs a lot of money.
Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.
- More than 200 prisoners previously on death row have been freed because...
- States may get rid of the death penalty not because...
- Prisoners on death can row can appeal the decision, and it may take...
- But politicians are looking closely at budgets in order to cut costs and...
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What do you think about the death penalty? Why?
- Can you think of three reasons why supporters think the death penalty works?
- Can you think of three reasons why opponents think the death penalty doesn't work?
- Does your country have the death penalty? Why/not?
- How can serious crimes be reduced? Think of three reasons with a partner.
Google Search: Type "death penalty" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.