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Is the Capital Punishment Justified? Essay Example

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772 words
Harvey Mudd College
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The world has always been divided when it comes to the issue of capital punishment. While many countries have gone ahead to abolish the practice, some states dont feel the same, and capital punishment is legally enshrined in their constitution. The permissibility of the death penalty contributes to an intriguing debate that has existed over the years with many basing their arguments on morality, law, and others on religious beliefs. With the research done, the death penalty should be abolished and does not present a justified means of punishment. The capital punishment is somehow controversial, expensive and offers a form of punishment that is centered on revenge thus it is somewhat unfair.

The belief that the capital punishment acts to deter the occurrence of crimes in the future is slightly flawed. There has been less absolute evidence that proves the statement as presented by those who bring it forth. In the countries or the states where the capital punishment is abolished, the crime rate tends to be similar to that of the states and countries that are still practicing the death punishment. Henceforth, one cannot say that the death penalty is more effective in diminishing crime (Hood, Roger & Carolyn 78). To make matters worse, when the death sentence is unfairly done, an innocent life is taken by the state, and it will still leave the perpetrator unscathed, and no justice will be derived. A legal process that can be deemed legitimate would be required to convince the public that one deserves the death sentence. There use of life imprisonment is more humane than the capital punishment approach.

The human rights advocacy movements all over the world and the constitutions that are observed by all the countries in the world recognize that every individual has a right to life. According to Mathias (1260), the right cannot be only accorded to those who are deemed innocent but even to those who have committed offenses or crimes that deserve capital punishment. Capital punishment, therefore, goes against the rights enshrined I the constitutions of every country. The abolitionist argues that life should be well preserved no matter the cost. They decide that the convicts are better placed in a cell rather than taking their lives. Therefore, those who opt for capital punishment should, thus, provide a justifiable reason for it to take place.

The government will be preaching water and taking wine if they adopt the capital punishment. They cannot be at the same time telling people that murder is wrong while they kill the perpetrators. The action can only be considered as revenge since one life will be taken due to the loss of another. The whole process is not justifiable at all (Gawande 1226). Although the government will offer closure to the family of the victims, a loss of a family member due to the crime is not replaceable and justified. Furthermore, the executions methods that are used tend to cause more suffering and torture both to the crime perpetrators and their families who are subjected to the ordeal as per the law.

While many people view capital punishment to be unacceptable within the ethical standards in the society, there are those who consider death sentence to be justifiable. As Sunstein & Adrian (710) explains, they indicate that there exist empirical assumptions and certain circumstances where the capital punishment will be ethically and morally required. To them, it will not be for the retributive reasons only, but it will be for the prevention of killing of innocent lives.

The other argument that supports the implementation of the capital punishment is the one that seeks justice for the victims family as well as setting an example with a view of deterring the killings of innocent people and deliberate murders. To some, when countries give up on a death sentence, it means giving up on justice (Bohm 16). They indicate that having the death sentence will eventually bring closure to families of the victims and still serve as a reminder to those who are caught with capital crimes that the punishment is heavy.


Works Cited

Bohm, Robert M. Deathquest: An introduction to the theory and practice of capital punishment in the United States. Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Gawande, Atul. "When law and ethics collidewhy physicians participate in executions." New England Journal of Medicine 354.12 (2006): 1221-1229.

Hood, Roger, and Carolyn Hoyle. The death penalty: A worldwide perspective. OUP Oxford, 2015.

Mathias, Matthew D. "The sacralization of the individual: Human rights and the abolition of the death penalty." American Journal of Sociology 118.5 (2013): 1246-1283.

Sunstein, Cass R., and Adrian Vermeule. "Is capital punishment morally required? Acts, omissions, and life-life tradeoffs." Stanford Law Review (2005): 703-750.


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