The Death Penalty
It is axiomatic to say that, the term ‘death penalty’ has been debated in the society at large, whether at the social, economical or even political setting. Both proponents of and opponents have in their respective capacities offered what they believe is the justification to warrant what they stand for; in as far as this litigious topic is concerned. This essay seeks to analyse critical fundamental issues with regard to the death penalty. The crux of the matter is whether death penalty is wrong or right and whether there are crimes that warrant it. Inas much as the death penalty may seem to offer solution to the atrocious acts supposedly committed by the offenders,the reality is that death penalty it has and will continue to be wrong.
Many of its crusaders have over time argued that, the death penalty is meant to provide retribution and affirm society’s commitment to the rule of law.Diann Tierney (2004). The argument for death penalty is that, it seeks to pay wrong by executing the convicts of capital offences .In this regard, the convicts pays for their actions by meeting ‘similar measure’.
Another argument put forth to support death penalty is that, it offers a platform where convicts act as an example to fellow offenders and would be offenders. This is meant to deter them from engaging in the forbidden acts. This case is supported by Robert M. Baird and, Stuart E. Rosenbaum (1995) and they rightfully put it that, since ancient times, criminal law and penology have been based upon what is called in psychology the ‘pain-pleasure’ principle. There are many reasons for inflicting pain—to urge an animal to greater efforts, to retaliate for pain received, to frighten, or to indulge in idle amusement. Human beings, like
all animals, tend to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Hence the way to control behavior is to reward what is ‘good’ and punish what is ‘bad’.
Some key opinion on death penalty is that there is no need to have a society that has people that do not, in any way, regard the sanctity of life. The proposers say that death penalty is the only way to make the society safe. Locking them in without parole, can in some instances not bear fruit, owing to the fact that, they sometimes harm fellow prisoners, personnel taking care of them in prison or in some isolated cases, escape from prison and come back to the society, eventually harming the general population. George E Pataki(1997) pronounces that it is the role of every government to offer peaceful environment to the citizens. He further articulates that too long coddling of criminals, sanctioned intolerable levels of violent behaviour to pervade the streets. They were not subject to swift and certain punishment and, as a result, violent criminal acts were not deterred.Accordingly, one of the best ways to usher a safe surrounding and assurance of liberty for all, is to hand death penalty to the capital offenders.
It would be grave injustice to only argue for death penalty without also scrutinizing the dissenting views on the same. Consequently, arguments brought forth against death penalty must be heard.
Death penalty can lead to execution of innocent parties; a non reversible act. A case study of the American system by the death penalty organization (2007) revealed that around 140 death penalty convicts were later exonerated owing to DNA evidence. This category would have otherwise faced the capital punishment. The report further notes that most wrongful convictions originate from false witnesses, eye witness error, government misconduct, and junk science. The above presentation clearly points that in some cases objectivity is not practiced in the handling of criminal cases.
The other essential angle that must be tackled is correctional role of the prisons life. Inmates should be rehabilitees so as to conform to the societal norms and ethics rather than be condemned.Diann Tierney, (2004) points out that the conscientious thing for any legislative assembly to do for the public at large is to pull the plug on the death penalty—clear the smoke and move forward with alternatives that hold people accountable for the harm they do without violating society’s values of fairness and consideration of human life. Wrong doers should therefore be imprisoned other than their lives taken away.
Almost all the communities of the world have deep foundation in religion. Similarly, a majority of the religious practices have high esteem to human dignity and preservation of life not withstanding one’s guilt or offence. The Bible, (Exodus chapter20 verse13) states that one should not kill. It further states that, (Romans12 verse 17) it is wrong to pay evil for evil. The Bible being a reference book to many Christians shapes the societal perspective on the issue and clearly defines why many are opposed to the death penalty. According to Diann Tierney, (2004) the lives of the condemned hang in the balance and the quality of lives of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jurors and ultimately wardens and guards are also affected, since they bear the burden of deciding who will live or die and consequently impose the frightening punishment. On this note, it is crystal clear that there is no justification for executing a person whether guilty or otherwise.
After thorough analysis of the argument for and against the death penalty, it is becomes unmistakable that death penalty is a disgrace to human rights and will never be substantiated whatsoever. Just as legal experts would state, ‘Res ipsa loquitor’ to imply that facts speak for themselves, such is the case in this debate. The rationale behind advocating for alternative measures to death penalty lie squarely on the points discussed herein. No one has a right to take the life of a human being. In the same breathe; no wrong can be compensated by subjecting offenders to the ‘retarded act of death penalty’.
· Diann, R. Tierney. ”failed experiment: from Gary graham to troy Davis in context,” 2007.
· George, E. Pataki. USA Today “Death penalty is a deterrent”, March 1997
· King James Version, 2011.
Robert, M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. “Punishment and the death penalty debate.”NewYork,1995. 14228-2197.30