The death penalty is a controversial topic that continues to elicit a lot of debate in the contemporary society as it did in ancient civilizations. Several questions have been raised regarding this topic, for example, should we abolish the death penalty? or, does death penalty violate man’s fundamental right to live? Whenever the issue of death penalty comes, opponents and proponents stand up to defend their positions.
One side says deterrence, the other side says the possibility of killing an innocent person. One side says fairness, the other side replies retribution, and punishment claims are met with ‘killing is murder’.
Whatever side of the debate we explore, it is plain that the death penalty is a denial of the basic human rights as it contravenes the right to life as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as stated by the UN. The death penalty is the ultimate form of cruelty, inhuman, and demeaning act that can ever be perpetuated on an individual.
Since court sentences and punishment are meant to be a disciplinary act, then a death penalty contradicts the law itself as it does not give an offender a second chance at reform. Besides, various studies have proved that the death penalty does not deter future offenders from committing the same crimes that would lead to a similar penalty, therefore, the death should be banned in all countries.
One of the arguments that has always that has always been used to defend death penalty is deterrence. The notion that executing persons who break certain laws will deter persons from engaging in similar crimes sounds convincing, besides, deterring any form of crime is for the good of all of us.
However, the jury is still torn whether this form of punishment actually deters crime as a number of studies have shown that heavy punishment does not necessarily imply deterrence. Should we give the death penalty to prove that we are serious? Does a criminal mind ever consider the existence of a death penalty? No. Studies indicate that unless executions reach a certain level, crimes that warrant the death penalty may continue unabated.
Most death penalties are normally given to persons that commit murder. However, behavioral studies have shown that most murders are normally committed in response to strong feelings of passion or anger, or by persons who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs who act impetuously.
For this reason, they do not act rationally and do not think of the consequences of their actions. Giving such an individual a life sentence does not really help him and instead amounts to another murder. The Merriam-Webster defines murder as the “unlawful killing of one person by another, especially with premeditated malice”, going by this definition, it becomes plain that a death sentence is in itself another execution. The only section of the definition that supports the court’s act is the unlawful part.
The death sentence is normally full of flaws and inconsistencies, this claim arises from the number of persons that have been released from death row after additional inquiries into their crimes.
Besides, we know from research supported by the strongest and most accurate figures that the death penalty is applied with impartiality. It is a matter of race and socio-economic status; lower-class people are represented by overburdened or incompetent lawyers while rich criminals hire well paid lawyers who present a competent and well organized defense and are frequently let off the hook.
This finding means that innocent persons are executed by various legal systems around the world. Does it not seem if the state takes away an innocent person’s life, then it should also meet the same level of punishment as the criminals? Does this risk not surpass the benefits of death penalty that may exist? Should we permit issues such as the death penalty to harm the very values and beliefs that our dear nation was established on?
As we continues to give death penalties to persons accused of various crimes, we are setting a very bad example for our children. We spend a significant amount of time teaching our children on the sanctity of life at schools or other institutions, yet we justify the death sentence arguing that it will reduce crime levels. This is very hypocritical of society. Evil cannot be an answer to evil. If it wrong to take away a life, why does the state contradict itself by executing others? The death penalty must be abolished immediately.
Despite opposition from various quarters, our legal system continues to mete out the death penalty. This must stop since the death is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as dictated by the United Nations, besides, the death penalty does not deter offenders from engaging in crimes that would lead to this sentence.
Persons that commit murder, for whom the penalty is frequently given, normally act under the influence of alcohol or drugs or act impetuously and should be given time to reform rather that delivering them to the hangman, the legal system itself is full of flaws and inconsistencies that block the exercise of justice to suspects. Finally, death penalties sends a poor message to our children as they grow up with the notion that evil is paid with evil.