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The death penalty is not a deterrent - Research Paper Example

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The Death Penalty is not a deterrent 1. Introduction Capital punishment is still debated because the pros and cons won’t just stop and their arguments are as old as the issue itself. But there are studies strongly suggesting that the debate should have stopped long ago because the evidence has shown that there is no deterrent effect of capital punishment, and it is only a myth…
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Download file to see previous pages These criminologists confirmed the previous finding that there is no deterrent effect for capital punishment. Perceptions and attitudes of peoples towards the death penalty can change with increased knowledge. If there’s enough information campaign by people in government and those concerned, favourable opinion can be gained for the abolition of capital punishment. The European Union adopted its Charter of Fundamental Rights which states that everyone has the right to life and no one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed. This should be binding on all peoples and all states, big and small. But for the victim’s side, there is demand for justice or retribution. When someone in the family is a victim of a crime, such as when a daughter has been raped and murdered, the family demands justice. Rae states that there is an ‘imbalance created in the social order’. There is a demand for justice created by the imbalance and thus a demand for a restoration of the balance in society. While society must exercise power and all individuals must submit to that power, society must give everyone a chance. Killing does not solve social ills and it is uncivilized. 1.1 Definition Death penalty is a punishment instituted by society where a convicted criminal is punished and put to death; the crime committed is a capital offense. It is different from unauthorized form of killing, or killing committed for revenge or lynching. (Garland 70) Capital punishment or death penalty can be considered the strictest punishment for a grievous offense. The term grievous or capital offense varies in definition and commission in different countries. Capital crimes include treason, murder, manslaughter, rape, and in some countries, they include arson, counterfeiting, and theft. (Banner 5) 1.2 History of the death penalty Capital punishment is an integral part of American history. The first execution occurred in Jamestown in 1608, when Captain George Kendall was sentenced to death for spying for Spain. By the middle of the seventeenth century, around fifty people were executed. After a century, executions were done by the thousands. By the end of 1945, more than 17,000 people had been executed. (Allen and Clubb 9) Most ancient countries enforced capital punishment for serious offenses, but sometimes other offenses like blasphemy, adultery, or magic practice and witchcraft, were considered capital offense. English common law listed eight capital crimes, such as treason, petty treason, murder, larceny, robbery, burglary, rape, and arson. (Mandery 21) By the beginning of the eighteenth century, majority of the executed were African Americans or of African descent, with whites appearing to be a minority of those executed. 1.3 Ancient Laws Early laws on the death penalty can be found in the Ancient Laws of China. The Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon enforced the death penalty for 25 different crimes. But murder was excluded from these crimes. The Code followed the principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” and set measures to compensate for injuries to slaves, domesticated animals, and property. Thieves who did not have the ability to pay restitution were put to death. The first historically recorded death sentence was done in Egypt in the sixteenth century BC, and the offender, who was convicted of committing magic, was sentenced to take his own life. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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