Capital punishment is defined as the legal infliction of death as a punishment. Capital punishment was first recorded in the United States in Jamestown colony in 1608. It is used in thirty-eight American states even today. There are five means of carrying out the death penalty; hanging, the electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection and the firing squad. In 1967, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the capital punishment, and in 1972 the Supreme Court seemed to have done away with capital punishment for good. Buut again in 1974, it upheld the decisions of three states which drafted new laws for capital punishment. Right now, the Supreme Court is of the opinion that the Constitution permits capital punishment. Human rights activists have been protesting against the law for quite some time now, claiming that capital punishment is inhuman, that it is often practiced in a racially discriminatory way, that it does not give the effect it need to give, and that it is wrong.
The most important argument supporting capital punishment is that it permanently and effectively removes the worst criminals from society. It is safer for the public to have them dead than have them in prison from where a lot of deadly criminals have escaped over the ages.
Also, how good a method is taking care of these criminals in prison? The government is spending the money of the taxpayer to give food and lodging to the worst criminals of society. How fair is that, when there are sick people dying and poor people starving everywhere? Therefore is it not a better idea to just get rid of them forever?
It is also shown that in countries like Singapore where the death penalty is carried out very effectively, there is a much less crime rate than in countries where it is not. This is one way to show that the fear of the capital punishment may actually deter the potential criminal from commiting crimes.
And one of the most important arguments is that it is only the law of nature that any person who does any crime against society must pay back from what he has, as retribution for what he has done. Thus in cases where a criminal takes a life or more than one life, it is only fair to have his life taken to balance nature’s system.
Now there are many humanitarian arguments against the death penalty, and the most important one is that it is very much possible that a totally innocent person can get capital punishment, and even if it is known later that the person is not guilty it would be too late to amend. If on the other hand, the person was only sentenced to a prison sentence it would still be possible to give him justice.
There are also people who may have killed somebody without intending to, but often the drama that happens in the courtroom may eventually lead to the accused getting a death penalty which certainly is not just. We should also think about the family and friends of the person who has been awarded the death penalty. Loss of a close person may irreparably damage that person’s life.
Also, there are people who actually repent after doing a crime. Although they may deserve a harsh sentence, they are ready to go back to society to pay back for their crimes, if given a chance. While it may not be a great idea to let very hardened criminals back into society, people who have done the lesser intense crimes and people against whom there is not a lot of solid evidence could be granted a chance to repent.
And last but not the least we should realize that the criminals too are in fact human beings with feelings and emotions. While they may have been bad enough to commit crimes, the thought of pain and suffering and eventual death will hurt any human beyond imagination. It will be only being human to not give them death but give them alternative punishments.
Death penalty seems a rather inhuman thing from most view points, but there are cases(mass murder, terrorism etc) in which the criminal seems to deserve nothing less than death. There will always be arguments for and against this topic, but I think that until a better system is invented, the very hard criminals need to be executed at least as a lesson to the people in the world that such crimes do not deserve any mercy.
LawBrain.com (2010), retrieved from web http://lawbrain.com/wiki/Capital_Punishment
Smith J. (2006), retrieved from web http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/thoughts.html