The history, evolution, and current uses of the death sentence are described, followed by an examination of the socially and morally problematic issues of racial bias, gender bias, dehumanization, errors that give rise to conviction of the innocent, and unsupported claims about the deterrent value of the sanction. A theoretical argument that promises a better way forward is advanced, marked by community reforms and the use of prison terms that offer persons convicted of capital crime a meaningful opportunity for release and re-entry into society.