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Should the Death Penalty be legal - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date Death Penalty Should Continue Introduction We are a just society and the death penalty is a just punishment for the most heinous of crimes. Punishment for offenses which are considered cruel and unusual is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment…
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Should the Death Penalty be legal
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Download file to see previous pages Those who are against the use of capital punishment do not think that the government should be given the authority to subject any of its people to death. They also say that this practice is overtly costly, racially partial and does not realize the intended result. The vast majority of Americans consider the death penalty to be neither cruel nor unusual, quite the opposite; they think it’s a fair and just punishment. They not only accept but stridently insist that the “ultimate punishment” be sustained for several reasons which will be thoroughly covered in this paper. It will also take into account the opponents’ logic concerning why it should be ended in an effort to show an inclusive summary of the contentious death penalty debate. History of Punishment Historically speaking, the justification for punishing offenders has been to “avenge the crime, to protect society by imprisoning the criminal, to deter that person and other potential offenders from the commission of crimes and to obtain reparations from the offender” (Wolfgang, 1998). All through the history of civilization, this rational has not altered appreciably. The four fundamental reasons humanity punishes criminals can be classified by two basic motivations. One is to obtain the desired outcome which includes protecting society, deterrence and seeking compensation. The other, retribution or vengeance involves reprimanding those who have committed a crime on society. For thousands of years people have subscribed to retribution as validation for using the death penalty which can be found in the Biblical reference ‘an eye for an eye.’ In other words, aggressive actions against society must be confronted with an aggressive punishment (Olen & Barry, 1996: 268). This use of any type of punishment is humanity’s method of striking back at a person or persons who have disturbed the ethical and emotional sensibilities of a society. The ‘eye for an eye’ justification continues to be used by many people and nations today. Those who embrace this viewpoint are undoubtedly correct when they state that capital punishment assures that the offender will not be able to commit another transgression against society. The death penalty is the definitive preventative measure (Olen & Barry, 1996). Opponent Position Persons who oppose use of the death penalty think that all life no matter how despicable should be considered of value and that putting a person in prison for life without the opportunity for parole is sufficient punishment. Opponents also believe that revenge as justification is wrong and in the end more harmful to the values of society than is the crime of murder itself. Additionally, opponents think that banning the death penalty will “allow opportunities for confronting those who had been hurt most and possibly encourage remorse or reconciliation (and) suggest those that have killed be made to service the community as a way of partially making amends” (Olen & Barry, 1967: 272). According to opponents the death penalty is morally and ethically objectionable in modern society. Some are against it based on religious reasons referring to morality as the primary issue; however, differing religions and the faithful within those religions have conflicting opinions. For example, Christians who live in America overwhelmingly support it while Christians in Europe tend to oppose it. Legal Interpretations The U.S. Supreme Court has maintained that use of the death ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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