The topic of death penalty or capital punishment can be considered to be complex. Its complexity has brought about numerous debates over the years. Therefore, several pros and cons have been stipulated that brings about the justification or non-acceptance of the issue in many countries. In the past, nearly all the countries in the world practiced capital punishment for numerous crimes. However, as the passing of time, many have changed this decision and instead have opted for life imprisonment. Nonetheless, countries such as the US and most Asian countries continue to practice it. In looking at this topic, the question that comes to mind is, do we need death penalties?
Pros of capital punishment
Death penalty reduces costs for the government
According to the proponents of the death penalty, when capital punishment has been imposed, then the cost for the government will go down. However, it can be observed that execution cost a lot of money. Nevertheless, it is cheaper compared to sustaining millions of people who are sentenced for life. The expenses come from health care services, food, security, electricity, and maintenance of the prisons. With executions, the prisoners will reduce and so will the government’s spending (Gottfried).
Reduce crime rates
According to the statistics, over two million people in America have experienced one crime or another (Roger and Carolyn). However, when the punishment is lenient the criminals become bold and end up committing more heinous crimes. On the other hand, if the penalty is severe, the criminals will fear committing crimes. Thus, the crime rate will reduce in the country.
Death penalty is just
For the victims of the crimes, it will be justified for those criminals to face justice by execution. This is because crimes such as rape, murder, assaults and arson affect a person’s life (Hugo and Paul). This fact means that the criminals have no respect for human life or property. Since they have no respect for life, then it is fair for them to face the same punishment.
Execution of innocent people
Some of the arguments made by the opponents are that innocent people could be executed for crimes they did not commit. This fact can be seen from the numerous reports made that prove that innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit (Roger and Carolyn). Moreover, there has been some cases where innocence of a person is proven after their execution. A good example is the case of Cameron Todd Willingham who was convicted and executed for the murder of his three children through arson. It was later found out that the fire was accidental and Cameron was innocent.
Death penalty costs taxpayers and government money
Proponents of the debate state that life imprisonment is costly. However, the opponents claim that it is more expensive to handle the death row inmates (Roger and Carolyn). This is because the government spends taxpayers money in the verdict, sentencing and out keep of the prisoners.
Mentally ill criminals
Some of the criminals are mentally sick and therefore, cannot be aware of their actions (Gottfried). Therefore, these types of people should not be executed. Instead, they need to be helped by being taken to the mental institutions.
Opponents of the topic state that executions bring about the mindset of an eye for an eye with the criminals. This fact means that if the criminals killed or tortured their loved ones, then they ought to receive the same punishment. However, killing is killing, whether it's by a criminal or by the state. Therefore, it is unconstitutional and immoral.
It brings about the wrong message
The government has indicated that killing is illegal; therefore, it will send the wrong message if they kill someone who has committed crimes. It will also cause some people to be vigilantes in the society. They will use the government as an example to justify their actions (Hugo and Paul).
In conclusion, I oppose capital punishment due to my moral views. As a Christian, we believe that killing is a sin, and therefore, it should be opposed. When a criminal kills or tortures others, they should be punished and reformed (Roger and Carolyn). By killing them, they are not able to learn their mistakes. On the other hand, when prisoners are given life imprisonment, they will learn from their mistakes and make changes in their lives. They could also help others, especially by educating delinquent children to improve their behaviors.
Gottfried, Ted. The Death Penalty: Justice Or Legalized Murder? Connecticut: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002. Print
Hugo Adam Bedau and Paul G. Cassell. Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? . Oxford University Press, 2004. Print
Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle. The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print