II. Thesis statement
III. Abolitionists’ arguments
IV. Proponents’ arguments
V. Personal view
Death Penalty: Wrong or Right?
A situation where the law imposes death penalty on crimes like treason or murder referred to as capital crimes is capital punishment. The debate on death penalty has been going on for a long time only that more contemporary issues like abortion emerge and overshadow this debate. Despite this, there has been no equivocal conclusion to this debate. The West has been practicing capital punishment for thousands of years, and it is until the last one century that people began to question its appropriateness, applicability in a civilized society and how justified this punishment is. Death penalty is an issue of conflict in morality. Morals as defined by Marzilli are the principles that prompt the understanding of what is right or wrong (24). Therefore, in the society different people have different perception of what is right or wrong. Many countries all over the world have, therefore, legalized and practice capital punishment while to other countries it is illegal and considered barbaric. This paper explores the whole idea of death penalty in terms of arguments of both those against and those for capital punishment. The paper seeks to establish whether it is fair for any society to deprive one of its own the right to life, whether governments have the right to enact laws that support capital punishment, how justified death penalty is and its appropriateness in the modern society.
Death penalty should be condemned and abolished from the society since it provides a platform for depriving one his or her most fundamental right which is the right to life.
Death penalty is an extremely controversial social and political issue with those opposed and those supporting putting forward their arguments.
Proponents of capital punishment argue that people who murder others do not understand and appreciate what makes the difference between right and wrong, and, therefore, this leads them into committing the crime of murder. They do not have regard for not only others’ life but theirs too. They, therefore, deserve to die since this is what they want. The proponents simply argue that if one murders a fellow human being then he or she deserves to be murdered.
Others like the prison systems who support death penalty argue that this punishment provides a way of reducing prison population, and, therefore, cutting on the cost of running these rehabilitation facilities. Guernsey who is a pro-death penalty supports this ideology arguing that murderers on top of causing grief should not be allowed to use the tax payer’s money in the name of rehabilitating such dangerous people in the society (125).
Marzilli argues that supporters of death penalty believe that it is the surest method of ensuring that a murderer does not kill again (28). To them the life and liberty of a murderer is a danger to the society and need to be entirely removed from the society. This is based on the thinking that death penalty is a finality in eliminating a murderer from the society and cannot be compared with life imprisonment. This is because life imprisonment is not a guarantee that the murderer will remain behind bars forever. He or she may pursue legal means while in prison, and the sentence may be overturned, for example, a small legal technically like a violation of a search warrant may grant the murderer his or her freedom. This argument is also supported by researcher Isaac Ehrlich who claims that every execution prevents eight murders in future (Marzilli 29).
Abolitionists or those against capital punishment argue that death sentence hurts the family of the prisoner and further deprives the murderer their right to life.AbolitionistBanner argues thatdeath penalty has affected many innocent people with their innocence proved way too late after their death (143). Abolitionists also believe that death penalty affects mostly the poor, the minority ethic groups and the uneducated in countries were capital punishment is practiced. Therefore, it is used as a tool for eliminating those the society deems not necessary. There is also an argument that death penalty reduces all the involved parties from the justice system to the executors to murderers.
Bedau and Cassell, argue that death penalty only eliminates the body and not the soul. Damnation as per the argument of abolitionist is the best way to punish a murderer instead of condemning him or her to death. This argument has over and over again been employed in defense against capital punishment all over the world (23). It is the basis under which abolitionists push for rehabilitation of capital criminals instead of death penalty. When a judge delivers a death penalty verdict to a criminal, he or she confirms that rehabilitation has failed, and; therefore, there is no need of having rehabilitation facilities.
Is it true that Death penalty really deters homicide? The brutalization theory argues that every execution is a devaluation of the human life and when it happens in the eyes of the society, it increases the likelihood of other members of that society to kill (Marzilli 29). Based on this theory, death penalty is never the best way to deter homicide. Condemning a person to death is going against his or her most basic human right. Furthermore, it is senseless to think that executing murderers through lethal injections or electrocuting reduces or stops other people from killing. This theorem has been adopted by the few powerful individuals to continue perpetrating this inhuman practice through which they protect their personal interests. It is, therefore; clear that no crime regardless of its magnitude should be punishable by death and no criminal regardless of the magnitude of the crime perpetrated cannot be rehabilitated.
It is of significant concern that even the most civilized western democracies continue to violate the fundamental right to life through practicing this primitive and inhuman punishment. Death penalty should, therefore, be condemned and abolished from the society.
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Bedau, Adams and P. Cassell. Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have
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Guernsey, Joann. Death Penalty: Fair Solution Or Moral Failure?London: Twenty-
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Marzilli, Allan. Capital Punishment, New York: Infobase,2008. Print.