Capitol Punishment


Capitol Punishment Essay, Research Paper

Capital Punishment is a difficult issue to address and has been the subject of highly controversial debate for the past three decades. In 1972, the United States Supreme Court decided in the Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty was a form of cruel and unusual punishment. But in 1975, the court reversed their decision and executions resumed under the state s supervision. The Death Penalty is considered the harshest from of punishment enforced today. The most common form used to execute this task is Lethal Injection; although hanging, electrocution, gas chamber and the firing squad are also approved methods.

The big controversy of the death penalty is does it work and is it morally right. People who favor it say that it is the only way for justice to be carried out and they think the criminal deserves it. People who are against it say that it is immoral and had no place in a civilized society. Capital Punishment is justified by several means. Many supporters of the death penalty believe that capital punishment deters crime. I believe that is a false assumption. How can you tell if deterrence has occurred? You cannot. Unless the prospective offender reports that the fear of punishment stop them from committing the crime, you will never know if it works. Deterrence can only work when the threat of punishment is combined with the act being believed as morally wrong. Without the conviction of morality, the easily frightened will not break the law but the irrational and fearless will. Apparently though, certain sections of society have become desensitized to the point that human life has no value whatsoever. Nothing will hold deterrent value. These people do not think about the consequences of their actions. But this lack of morals and foresight cannot be used as an excuse for the toleration of such violent crimes. If we used the death penalty as the law intended, it could actually reduce the number of violent murders by eliminating so of the repeat offenders being used a method of justice and not just a method of deterrence.

Many people are against the death penalty because they think innocent people will be wrongfully executed in the name of justice. There are many provisions taken to make sure this does not happen. These provisions also ensure that the death penalty is racially bias so there are no discriminations. The death penalty also has an automatic appeals process that safeguards the system. This process shortens the time spent on death row, which is on average nine years and six months. This seemingly shortened sentence could allow for an innocent person to be executed but statistics show that only two, 1918 and 1949, people have been proved innocent after execution in the entire history of the United States. Capital Punishment is a method of retributive punishment as old as time itself. Both the Greeks and the Romans invoked the death penalty for a variety of offenses. Socrates and Jesus were among the most famous people ever condemned. Hammurabi s Code, developed long before the emergence of Christ claims retribution, an eye for an eye, life for a life is justice. Retribution makes Capital Punishment justifiable because it is an injustice to tolerate criminal behavior such as murder. Think for a moment that the death penalty did not exist. Then the only reasonable alternative would be a life sentence. This would be costly to taxpayers like you and I. Costly due to housing, feeding, and numerous appeals that the inmate would file. If there is no threat of death to someone who commits murder, then that person is guaranteed to be provided with a decent living environment until the next parole hearing. This shows that they would not get the deserved type of punishment. Victim s family wants is justice, plain and simple. They want justice to be served, for the offender to be put to death, not any sort of financial retribution. Justice is all anyone wants or deserves. If it is cleat that a person is guilty of murder then that person should be sentenced to death. Placing murderers in prison is not a tough enough sentence. If sentenced to life in Texas, then they would have a chance of parole. If they happen to make it back into the community, who is to say s/he would not kill again. One out of eleven prisoners sentenced to death have a prior homicide conviction. This means that more innocent people had to die before the murderer was sentenced to death. If they had been sentenced to die the first time, the additional victims would be alive. Justice would have been served. The punishment would fit the crime; the victim s family and society would be helped knowing one less murderer is out on the streets. More timely enforcement of the death penalty would help reduce crime by instilling a sense of respect for the law. In that sentences are more than just written words on a page.

Crimes carry consequences, which should be understood. Murder is a crime that involves the loss of life of an innocent human and that act needs to be justly punished. Not with an overextended welcome in a prison but in an effective manner that lets society know that justice is being duly served. If we were to take capital punishment away, we would not have an effective justice system and crimes against innocent people will continue. And that is why it is needed in America.

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