It has been said, when examining a pattern of thinking, if faced with troublesome data, we must either ignore the data or find a new pattern. Despite the abundance of troublesome data surrounding the death penalty, the United States continues to uphold capital punishment. This paper adds to the troublesome data by examining the effects of the death penalty through a trauma lens. The results are astonishing: families of the victim, families of the offender, criminal justice representatives, the offender and witnesses to executions can all be severely traumatized throughout the death penalty process. Symptoms can include, depression, aggressive behaviour, suicidality and substance abuse. Therefore, the impact of the death penalty can produce future violence, instead of providing the justice it promises. It is hoped that the exposure of this cycle of trauma will be used to help abolish the death penalty, making way for a new pattern.
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