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Capital Punishment - Essay Example

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The concept of punishment has evolved as a justified step making the criminal realize his act of omission and offense that is committed and…
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Capital Punishment
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Capital punishment broadly refers to ‘death penalty’ for the criminal as the only option for serious crime committed by him or her. The concept of punishment has evolved as a justified step making the criminal realize his act of omission and offense that is committed and also as an attempt to give justice to the person or people against whom it has been committed. The changing paradigms of the emerging new pluralistic society have necessitated the need to study the wider implications of punishment for the various types of crimes that are becoming a regular feature of the American society. Despite increasing crimes, I am against capital punishment primarily because it would bring our action at par with that of criminal.
Den Haag asserts that capital punishments are justified because criminals deserve ‘an eye for an eye’. He asserts that they serve as effective deterrent but unfortunately his assumptions have no concrete proof to support his hypothesis. The concept of punishment has evolved as a justified step making the criminal realize his act of omission and offense that is committed and also as an attempt to give justice to the person or people against whom it has been committed. The punishments which were supposed to serve as examples for others to refrain from crimes are increasingly becoming ineffectual. It is true that the punishment of the offender must serve as deterrent for others. At the same time, life imprisonment without parole would serve the same purpose but would be more humane and give the criminal an opportunity to reform.
John Stuart Mill also argues that capital punishment is the most effective penalty for people who have no regard to other people’s lives. He says that ‘he who violates that right in another forfeits it for himself, and that while no other crime that he can commit deprives him of his right to live, this shall’. But he also agrees that ‘that if by an error of justice an innocent person is put to death, the mistake can never be corrected’. Crime has been committed and therefore the criminal must be paid back in the same manner or something which is as bad as his crime. In the modern times and in the civilized society, this act of vengeance is neither considered to be morally right or just. Our actions need to be more thoughtful and effective that conform to the wider perspectives of basic human values that sees punishment as deterrent act which also helps the criminal to reform.
Hugo Adam Bedau asserts that ‘death penalty is uncivilized in theory and unfair and inequitable in practice’. Punishment for crimes has primarily been implemented for four major reasons: retribution; deterrence; rehabilitation; and social protection. These four factors are significant motivators for effectively combating crimes against the society and serve as vital public policy decisions while disbursing justice. Rehabilitation process within the jails and in the community development programs are considered as highly effective means of reforming the criminals. Punishing the criminal is important for the society because it ensures safer environment for them to live. Punishment that are accompanied by rehabilitation programs are important features of social justice because they are designed to root out the cause of the crime and promote a sustainable reform system that rehabilitates the criminal and turns him into a worthy and responsible citizen.
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Reference
Ernest Van Den Haag. On deterrence and the death penalty.
Hugo Adam Bedau. The Case Against the Death PenaltyThe Case Against The Death Penalty.
John Stuart Mill. Speech in Favor of Capital Punishment Aristotle & Virtues Utilitarianism. Read More
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