Over the years, criminals have subjected their victims to atrocious deeds globally. These include rape, defilement of minors, mass murder, intended murder, kidnapping and ransom demand, plane hijacking and robbery with violence among others.
Earlier in history, these crimes were subject to capital punishment or else, death penalty (Ellsworth & Gross, 1994). This served as form of preventing people from committing these crimes. During that time, the sentence was still controversial as some critics argued that it promoted rather than curbing the crime.
In the mid-year of 2011, a judge passed death sentence to Timothy McVeigh, a notorious United States (US) criminal responsible for the death of several innocent individuals in Oklahoma City’s federal building. This raised the question as to whether death penalty was the suitable punishment for such criminals or whether they actually reduce crime.
In the US, crime rates continue to soar. These rates are attributed to many factors, among them being unemployment. The youth are the worst hit by unemployment, and due to desperation, they resort crime related activities such as car theft, kidnapping and asking for ransom (Schaefer, 2009).
Additionally, due to abject poverty caused by unemployment they join organized gang groups and terror squads such as Al Qaeda with the aim of making money. Drugs and alcohol, on the other hand, have forced many people into drugs. Therefore, due to the effects of alcohol, people, particularly youth, have impaired judgments and thus they become vulnerable to crime related activities. The permissive nature of today’s parents has also contributed to crime rates.
Most countries have abolished capital punishment and resorted to other measures to control crime, among them being life imprisonment. Furthermore, some even term it as legalized murder especially where the law wrongly convicted innocent victims. Conversely, some countries still practice death penalty as a form of encumbering capital crimes. In this view, critics argue that two blunders do not solve predicaments.
Statistics have shown that death penalty does deter crime. Studies show a link between capital punishment and decline in murder cases. Most states in the US are currently peaceful because criminals fear arrest, prosecution and finally execution (Greenberg & West, 2008).
Due to this fear of death, many criminals have changed for better. Furthermore, imposing death penalty has reduced the population of individual criminals. Those sentenced will never repeat the act, as they no longer have life. Additionally, this serves as a lesson to other potential criminals.
Additionally, before the introduction of capital punishment, the law had convicted many murder suspects and they were freely roaming in the streets. Thus, death penalty reduces such cases. This poses as retribution. Other crime specialists argue that capital punishment for convicts is cheaper than imprisonment.
In my opinion, I strongly support capital punishment. Among the reasons for this, is safe environment for citizens. It is clear that death penalty reduces crime rates by checking the number of individual criminals and works as repulsion for ‘wannabe’ criminals. Additionally, the law imprisoned the murderers; some may end up killing fellow inmates and thus, heighten he cases of murder.
Conversely, youth should not be subject to death penalty largely because the impact is not the same as in adults. Firstly, some youths are too young to understand the crime they have committed. Additionally some youth are subject to torture in their family and thus they end committing atrocious crimes, which they never intended. The government should give the youth a chance to turn around their behavior, and eventually, their character. Secondly, the law should consider whether it is the youth’s first such crime.
Ellsworth, P. & Gross, S. (1994). Hardening of the Attitudes: Americans’ Views on the Death Penalty. Journal of Social Issues, 50, 19–52.
Greenberg, D. & West, V. (2008). Siting the Death Penalty Internationally. Law & Social Inquiry, 33, 295–343.
Schaefer, R.T. (2009). Sociology: A brief introduction. (8th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill.