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Death Penalty - Essay Example

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Introduction Death penalty, also referred to as capital punishment, is a type of punishment in the legal systems, which prescribes the killing of convicts instead of jailing them. It remains a controversial issue in most of the societies in the world, including the US, and its legality has continued to be challenged by opponents such as human rights watch groups and religious organizations, on the basis of its moral and ethical standings (McCafferty, 2009)…
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Download file to see previous pages The crimes that were punishable by death at this time were numerous unlike in the modern society, which has first degree murder as the major crime punishable by death. Under Hammurabi code, crimes such as adultery, petty robbery cases, wrongful accusation of individuals among others were regarded as capital offenses. This paper is a critical evaluation of death penalty as a component of criminal justice. Death Penalty Death penalty is a punishment in the criminal justice system, which has continued to attract criticism and support from various quarters such as human rights activists, religious groups as well as the society at large. As stated earlier, it is not a new phenomenon unique to the contemporary society as even the ancient societies applied it even though with little regard to human life. In this context, the manner in which it was applied especially in the Babylonian society under King Hammurabi showed that there was little will on the part of the authorities to offer convicted criminals the chance to redeem themselves and reintegrate with the society (Brians, 1999). However, the contemporary society has tried to rectify this by limiting the punishable crimes to those of high gravity such as murder, genocide, treason among others. On the other hand, some of the countries around the world have decided, through legislation, to ban the death penalty altogether while others have remained adamant and still use it to date. Some of the countries that has banned it include and not limited to Argentina, Spain and Australia while those where it is still considered legal include and not limited to the US, China, Korea, Egypt, Japan among others. In total, it is believed that more than 139 countries worldwide have banned its use. The most conventional methods of execution to date include and not limited to; hanging, being shot by firing squad, electric chair, gas chamber among others (Bedau, 2004). This is in contrast with the ancient methods of execution, which can be termed as primitive, inhumane as they were more bent towards making the convicted criminal experience pain and humiliation. In fact, some sources indicate that such societies believed in the ‘tit for tat’ and the ‘an eye for an eye’ principles. Convicts were either beaten to death, burned alive, crucifixion while others were drowned in water (Brians, 1999). Recidivism is a major concern for proponents of death penalty (McCafferty, 2009). This is the habit of convicted criminals returning into crime once they are released from prison after completing their jail terms. It is for this reason that death penalty is perceived as a permanent way of incapacitating the criminals from ever committing other felonies. Opponents on the other hand claim that instead of killing the culprits, they should be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. However this may sound convincing, it does not escape the minds of the proponents that jailing a criminal only limits his or her rights to freedom but this does not mean that they lose contact with the outside world. In this context, it is true to say that the criminals can still plan with the help of accomplices especially where criminal gangs are involved. This may turn out to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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