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Persuasive presentation against capital punishment - Essay Example

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Capital punishment has been used in varied societies since times immemorial as a way to punish heinous crimes (Sarat, 1999, p. 10). However, in a…
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Persuasive presentation against capital punishment
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Capital Punishment of the History and Political Science Name of the Concerned Professor
November 15, 2011
Capital Punishment
Capital punishment is the legally sanctioned execution of a person by the state as a punishment for a crime, usually murder. Capital punishment has been used in varied societies since times immemorial as a way to punish heinous crimes (Sarat, 1999, p. 10). However, in a pragmatic and ethical context, capital punishment stands to be less of a legal penalty and more of a state sponsored brutality resorted to by a society in the name of justice and public welfare (Haines, 1996, p. 63).
It goes without saying that some crimes tend to be so violent, gruesome and rare in their scope and nature that it is imperative for a society to come down heavily on the persons committing such crimes. However, while serving the cause of justice in such cases, it would be utterly inappropriate for a society to momentarily do away with the set social, moral, ethical and religious values accrued over centuries and generations, to turn into some sort of a collective predator, savagely taking the life of a culprit in the name of justice. Society has to punish crime, but it ought to do so without tempering with the quintessentially human values and aspirations (Bedau, 1977). Capital punishment do punishes a criminal, but at the same time it also deprives a society with a measure of its humanity and restraint. Capital punishment is based on the principle of “an eye for an eye”, which is totally savage, anachronistic and inhuman in its approach and scope. Society should punish the hardcore and incorrigible criminals, but for doing so it does not need to stoop to the level of the murderers in intends to punish.
There is no denying the fact that capital punishment is usually awarded to deviant people guilty of committing the rarest of the rare crimes. In that context, the capital punishment is not pragmatic in the sense that it extends to a criminal an easy way out (Zimring, 2003, p. 145). The pain inflicted by capital punishment on a criminal is only momentary. In contrast, the saner substitutes like life imprisonment are more stringent and rigorous in their practical implications (Zimring, 2003, p. 145). The torture of being deprived of one’s liberty, comfort, rights and social support system for years is certainly a worse torture for a hardcore criminal than the clean break allowed for by a death sentence. Thus, life imprisonment, realistically speaking is more potent and valid a deterrent to crime and a suitable expression of social repudiation for a serious crime, as compared to a capital sentence. Besides, life imprisonment and other such legal alternatives in no way infringe the claims of ethics, morality and human values and rights.
Now is the high time when responsible and progressive societies should desist from or abolish the legal provision of capital punishment. Capital punishment is totally contrary to the established standards of humanism, human rights and human dignity enshrined in the Western thought. Besides, death penalty practically does not serve any social objective in the sense that it gives a criminal an easy way out.
Bedau, Hugo Adam. (1977). The Courts, The Constitution and Capital Punishment.
Lexington: Lexington Books.
Haines, Herbert H. (1996). Against Capital Punishment. New York: Oxford University
Sarat, Austin. (1999). Capital Punishment in Law. New York: Oxford University Press.
Zimring, Franklin E. (2003). The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment.
New York: Oxford University Press. Read More
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