Capital punishment is used to execute criminals and suppress political dissent terms of murder, espionage, and treason. In the most historical records and practices, punishment was used as a way of enforcing justice. They used different ways to punish different extends of crime. They could stone person to death, boil to death, crucifixion, using a gun, burning, slow slicing, and neck lacing to death. Crimes which resulted into death penalty varied from one society to another.
In some, sexual crimes such as rape, adultery, incest, and sodomy qualified for a death penalty while others included religious crimes such as apostasy in Islamic nations, and human and drug trafficking. In military, it included offenses such as cowardice, insubordination, and mutiny (Banks, 2004).
Those against capital punishment are known as abolitionists. They believe that death penalty is not a legal system of punishing crimes. They otherwise argue that life imprisoned without parole can replace death penalty and is able to keep the society safe from criminals.
They say that there are greater chances of killing innocent people who were mistaken for the crime, discrimination in the legal system, and poor people who can’t access to quality legal help. They believe that killing at any chance either in war or defense is morally wrong (Braswell, 2011).
There is also a movement that supports capital punishment. They are known as retentionists. They support justice in terms of social utility. They believe that justice can only prevail when a criminal is punished in an equal way to the crime committed.
They say that if a person murders an entire family or terrorist blows up a building, it is only right to save the lives of innocent people than that of the murderer. If left alive he might as well kill again. Philosopher Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) supports the law of retaliation where the punishment equalizes the offense (Braswell, 2011).
In favor of capital punishment
Retribution; which supports that criminals or wrongdoers should be punished in a way that deserves the crime committed. Deterrence; argues that death penalty help prevent or reduce the cases of murder. Rehabilitation; gives chances to the criminals to repent and change without taking them back to the society but preparing them for the death penalty.
Prevention of re-offending; many people believe that a murderer should be killed at once to prevent him from killing again. Even though not in the society, he can kill those in prison too. Closure and vindication; some people think that death penalty will help relieve the family out of revenge.
Incentives for helping the police; instead of using death penalty, the police tend to reduce the incentives to life imprisonment to take advantage of doing further investigations. Japanese argument; they support capital punishment on the basis that bad things will be paid in bad ways (Pollock, 2009).
Against the capital punishment
Some people believe that human life is of great value and no one should be deprived of it despite the offence committed. Everyone has a right to live. It is better and more worth to keep a criminal for a life sentence to suffer enough to pay his crimes than to take away his life at once. There may be other causes of murder which are unpreventable such as those committed by insane people and emotional murders.
It is also not evident that death penalty is better in preventing or reducing murder cases than life imprisonment. The innocent will find themselves being prosecuted for things they did not do. Death penalty should be avoided to allow further investigations. The way the death penalty is carried out is not fair enough to the criminals. They sometimes wait for long before being executed. Crimes like adultery do not match the punishment of death penalty (Pollock, 2008).
Capital punishment is not good because it brutalizes society, laws and the state by increasing the number of murder rates causing uncertainty everywhere. This ruins the relationship between the state and its citizens. Capital punishment is also unnecessary since there are better ways of punishing criminals such as life imprisonment to keep the society in order and at peace.
It becomes very expensive especially when it comes to innocent people, unfair treatments, and discrimination to the accused. Most of the religious views are also against capital punishment.
Capital punishment should be avoided at all cost because it provides more harm than benefit. There is no crime that matches death penalty because the suffering of a long time provides the best punishment.
Banks, C. (2004). Criminal justice ethics: theory and practice. Bullhead City, AZ: SAGE.
Pollock, J. (2008). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Pollock, J. (2009). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice. Ney York, NY: Lightning Source
Braswell, M. (2011). Justice, crime, and ethics. New York, NY: Elsevier