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Death penalty - Essay Example

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Name: Jane Doe Instructor Course Date Introduction Death penalty is when a government takes the life of an individual as punishment for wrong doing. This form of punishment is the most extreme punishment that a government can use on its citizens. It has been used at different times in many societies in all parts of the world, though mainly as a last resort in a small number of cases…
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Download file to see previous pages And if it can, under what circumstances should it be used? Does the punishment acts as a deterrent? What are the alternatives? Does it contribute to a safe and secure environment? This debate is unlikely to end soon (Stearman, 2007). This debate is clearly one that is bound to go on for a long time with passionate debaters and defenders of stands on both sides of the argument. In this essay I take a stand on this debate by supporting the death penalty. I offer several reasons for this stand and provide references on the same. Some advocates of the death penalty offer support to the practice arguing that the death penalty justifies itself because it saves taxpayers the greater costs of supporting an inmate for a lifetime, or many decades, in prison. This economic assumption rests in part on the belief that executions happen more quickly and efficiently than serving a life sentence (Gerber & Johnson, 2007). Another related belief among supporters of capital punishment lies in the notion that the system of justice, like the legal system generally, is nearly infallible. While the system may commit an occasional mistake, such mistakes readily appear and can be made to disappear in the magic of the appellate process. This view normally also maintains that our capital machinery accurately separates the guilty from the innocent and punishes accordingly, without regard to race or social status or finances. Some people nursing this cluster of beliefs like to say that the wheels of justice move slowly but “exceedingly fine.” The legal process always succeeds, eventually, in separating the wheat from the chaff and does so impartially. Given their career investment in this system, judges have been known to entertain this belief (Gerber & Johnson, 2007). Some supporters of the death penalty also take a moralistic approach. To these kinds of people the main justification for the death penalty lies in giving every offender his “due.” In this philosophical position capital punishment finds its support in the notion of moral “desert”, where desert implies a punishment required to be proportionate in kind, severity, or amount of pain matching the original crime. Advocates of this view maintain that the most convincing justification for the death penalty lies in the assertion that punishment should mirror the gravity of the initial crime, as in the phrase, “an eye for an eye, and a life for a life” (Gerber & Johnson, 2007). A particularly recent justification for the death penalty considers the plight of suffering victims. Some victim advocates maintain that the death penalty finds its primary justification in its ability to nurture victims in either or both of two ways – by providing a kind of “closure” to their painful victimization and/or by providing an outlet for their emotional need for vengeance. The ascendancy of these victim rationales for punishment plays a major role today in support for capital punishment. Some segments of the victim rights movement assert that the wishes of hurting victims alone require capital punishment of those who had caused their unfortunate plight (Gerber & Johnson, 2007). Another more legalistic belief, espoused by some constitutional scholars, including some Supreme Court justices, asserts that fidelity to the constitution requires adherence to the beliefs and practices of our Founders. When a constitutional text about capital ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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