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Capital Punishment - Research Paper Example

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Capital Punishment, commonly referred to as death penalty, is a death sentence given by a state for an individual who has committed a serious crime in the society. This highest order of punishment is only awarded on a rare basis for the most heinous of crimes…
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Capital Punishment
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Download file to see previous pages According to recent statistics only 58 countries actively practice capital punishment, while 96 countries have abolished it. This goes on to show the changing trends in the global arena where countries have opted to treat their prisoners in a more civilized manner instead of using inhumane ways of executing them. Capital punishment is a topic of active controversy and debate in various countries, and positions vary drastically within a single political ideology, cultural region, religion and government entities. EU member states are prohibited the use of capital punishment as stated in their Charter of Fundamental Rights. Amnesty International considers most countries abolitionist now since United Nations has taken steps to eradicate Capital Punishment. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know that more than 60% of the world’s population currently lives in countries where death penalty is used on a regular basis as a means of punishment for serious offenders. These countries include China, India, US and Indonesia, which are also the four most populous countries in the world. The most common way of performing capital punishment in the US is by lethal injection. Hanging, gas chamber and electric chair have become less popular as they are regarded more painful for the victim. More historical ways of executing include breaking wheel, slow slicing in China, firing squad and beheading. A very prominent way to punish people in France during the 18th century was beheading them. A special purpose “guillotine” was made in which the decapitation was made fast and easy. Thousands were beheaded in front of public gatherings to give everybody a lesson to never forget. In 2010, there were a total of 46 executions in the US, 44 by lethal injection and one each by electric chair and firing squad. Latest polls by The Gallup Organization show that 61% of Americans favored Capital Punishment in cases of murder while 35% opposed it. The opponents of death penalty opt for life in prison without parole as a better and more humane option than taking away the life of a human being. The Supreme Court of US essentially nullified the death penalty in 1972 and ordered the conversion of the death sentences of hundreds of death row inmates to life in prison. Nevertheless, a future ruling by Supreme Court in 1976 declared capital punishment to be a part of Constitution and therefore allowed states to reinstate it under certain circumstances. (Times, 2011) Hence, from 1976 to 2009 there have been roughly 1,160 executions in the US. China tops the list of most executions in one year, with nearly 1,700 executions in 2008 alone while Iran and Saudi Arabia followed by 346 and 102 executions each. United States is ranked 4th in 2008 with an estimated 37 executions. This number varies from year to year within the same range but opponents of capital punishment struggle to abolish execution from the legal proceedings of the court’s verdict. This decreasing trend in the execution by lethal injection can be attributed to one prominent factor that is the shortage of one of the three drugs that is used in most lethal injections. This national shortage backed by reluctant European manufacturers has created a sense of disarray among several prison authorities who have run out of doses to carry out their pending executions. This has resulted in several delays as international groups and communities continue to persuade US government to completely abolish capital punishment ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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