Capital Punishment Debate Continues in the United States

Article excerpt

Byline: J. Hope Babowice

You wanted to know

Bradford Reszel of Libertyville wanted to know:

Why is there a death penalty in Illinois?

If you have a question you'd like Kids Ink to answer, write Kids Ink, care of the Daily Herald, 1795 N. Butterfield Road, Suite 100, Libertyville, IL 60048 or send an e-mail to Along with the question, include your name, age, phone number, hometown, grade and school.

For more information

To learn more about the death penalty, the Vernon Area Library in Lincolnshire suggests the following.

- "Capital Punishment: The Death Penalty Debate" by Ted Gottfried

- "Capital Punishment" by Robert V. Wolf

- "The Death Penalty for Teens: A Pro/Con Issue" by Nancy Day

- "Capital Punishment: An Effective Punishment?" edited by Nancy R. Jacobs, Mark A. Siegel

"Why is there a death penalty in Illinois?" asked Bradford Reszel, 12, a seventh-grader at Libertyville's Highland Middle School.

Centuries ago, kings and courts decreed that certain crimes required that the criminal be put to death. This is called capital punishment - imposing the penalty of death when a criminal is found to be guilty of a certain crime.

In the United States today 38 states, including Illinois can sentence convicted murderers to receive the death penalty. But in Illinois the execution won't take place. Illinois is the only state with an ongoing moratorium, or temporary ban, on capital punishment.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court banned all states from imposing capital punishment, forcing them to review the way cases are decided. …