This paper argues for the abolishment of capital punishment in the criminal correction systems. The correction of criminals involves various punishment forms that include public service, incarceration, fining and capital punishment (Bi, 2012). Among these punishment forms, capital punishment has gathered media and societal attention worldwide. Most constitutions worldwide define capital punishment as warranted death punishment for serious criminals (Brettschneider, 2002). The paper develops a hypothesis that capital punishment is wrong and should be abolished at all costs. As such, the paper will discuss the two sides of the issue by considering the disadvantages and advantages of using capital punishment. The conclusions arrived at by the paper will be based on these advantages and disadvantages.
Reasons for the abolishment of capital punishment
According to Dieter (2008), capital punishment violates the objectives that should be attained by a typical correctional system. It also defies the correctional measure. Crimes such as robbery with violence, homicide, rape and murder, which are punishable by death, should be addressed from their primary root cause. Gavrilă (2011) argued that crime is the same to other social problems and should be dealt with by addressing their root cause, rather than addressing their aftereffects (Gavrilă, 2011). In his argument, he noted that the prevention of crime does only involve death penalty, but also the analysis of the events that caused the crime.
The existence of other punishment forms challenges the use of capital punishment (Neumayer, 2008). The supporters of capital punishment have always justified its use because of lack of suitable form of punishment for serious crimes. However, this is not true because forms of punishing criminals can never be drained (Neumayer, 2008). The critics of this form of punishment have suggested alternative forms such as life sentence, long life jail terms coupled with harsh conditions and probation. These punishment forms can necessarily rehabilitate criminals to be very good citizens (Neumayer, 2008). The claim that execution prevents the society from harm is not justifiable since life sentence can serve similar purpose. Usually the criminal justice system fails to assess the suitability of other forms of punishment (Neumayer, 2008).
According to Bi (2012), death penalty does not offer future proof that might challenge the passed judgments on criminals. Like other decision makers, judges can make errors that might cause them to impose wrong sentences on criminals (Bi, 2012). In situations where the judge imposes death sentence on a criminal, the emergence of future evidence contradicting the court’s decision serves no purpose. The use of alternative forms of punishment, such as long-term incarcerations, can significantly decrease the prevalence of such situations (Bi, 2012). Death is irreversible in nature, and as such, the criminal justice system should explore alternative forms of punishment before calling for an execution (Bi, 2012).
According to Bi (2012), death penalty should be abolished because its effectiveness in preventing and controlling crime is questionable. For instance, there has been increasing concerns in the US as to whether execution of criminals prevents some offenses committed under certain circumstances (Bi, 2012). Some homicide case in which death penalty does not deter crime include murder in domestic violence and under the influence of alcohol and drugs. In addition, executing contract assassinators, mentally ill and contract assassinators devoid of logical concern for life does not deter crime since like-minded offenders will continue killing (Bi, 2012). Studies have also indicated that from 1976 to 1996, the number of executions in the US rose by 60 as the rate of murder crimes rose during the same period. This shows that death penalty is not effective. In addition, according to the UN, there is no any scientific evidence that capital punishment deters crime as compared to life sentencing (Bi, 2012).
The current trends exhibited by criminal justice system record clearly point out that the method is unfair. According to Brettschneider (2002), death penalty only punishes the minority and the poor in individuals in the society. Poor individuals cannot afford attorneys to defend them during the court proceedings (Brettschneider, 2002). As such, they have to face death penalty. On the other hand, the rich, who can afford attorneys, usually evade the punishment of execution. The public has questioned the fairness of this form of punishment because it seems to be selective (Brettschneider, 2002).
Reasons for the Use of Death Penalty
Death sentence matches the magnitude of particular crimes. According to Dieter (2008), capital punishment deserves capital punishment. A homicide offender should be executed, which is equally the same as subjecting him to the crime he or she committed. A large portion of the public frequently agrees with assertion (Dieter, 2008). The public’s view is that killing should be punished by killing the person who took away the life of another person. In a study conducted by Dieter (2008), majority of the respondents claimed that it is very logical to inflict death on murderers.
Christian teaching has also pointed out that capital punishable can be deployed in punishing certain crimes like murder, adultery, and evil sorcery (Gavrilă, 2011). As such, this teaching plays a significant role in justifying the use of capital punishment. For justice to exist, the form of punishment should be of the same capacity as the offense (Gavrilă, 2011).
Death penalty should be used to ensure public safety (Gavrilă, 2011). For the society to have peace, public safety is supreme. The eradication of serious offenders posing threats to the public via execution appears to be the only justifiable means guaranteeing public safety (Gavrilă, 2011). In addition, it is sensible to execute an individual who has taken many innocent lives in order to offer public safety.
According to Neumayer (2008), the incapability of measuring the value of human life is one of the apparent justifications for the use of capital punishment. Life is an unmatched aspect of human nature when compared to other things (Neumayer, 2008). Capital offenses involving the destruction of human life are liable to be punished by the highest penalty possible. Various legal professionals have asserted that it is essential to deploy highest forms of punishment in order to preserve the highest values of human. According to Neumayer (2008), it is through argument that death penalty serves as way of respecting human life. This means that the use of death penalty ensures that no individual can undermine human values or kill and evade death (Neumayer, 2008).
The paper has discussed the various reasons for and against the use of death penalty. It is evident that the reasons against the deployment of the capital punishment outweigh the reasons for the deployment of capital punishment. As such, the hypothesis stated by the paper is true. capital punishment violates the objectives that should be attained by a typical correctional system. It also defies the correctional measure. The supporters of capital punishment have always justified its use because of lack of suitable form of punishment for serious crimes. Death penalty only punishes the minority and the poor in individuals in the society. Poor individuals cannot afford attorneys to defend them during the court proceedings. The unmatched aspect of life is the only major reason for the use of death penalty. Other reasons can be achieved by using other alternatives of death penalty. The incapability of measuring the value of human life is one of the apparent justifications for the use of capital punishment. In this regard, the paper concludes that capital punishment should be abolished.
Bi, Y. (2012). On the death penalty for drug-related crime in China. Human Rights and Drugs , 2 (1), 29-45.
Brettschneider, C. (2002). Dignity, citizenship, and capital punishment: the right of life reformulated. Studies in Law, Politics and Society , 25, 119-132.
Dieter, R. (2008). The death penalty and human rights: U.S. death penalty and international law. Oxford Round Table , 3, 12-43.
Gavrilă, A. (2011). Should the death penalty be abolished? arguments for and against the centuries-old punishment. Journal for Communication and Culture , 1 (2), 82-98.
Neumayer, E. (2008). Death penalty abolition and the ratification of the second optional protocol. The International Journal of Human Rights , 12 (1), 3–21.