Death Penalty - Essay Example

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Name Professor Module Date Death Penalty Is the death penalty moral? Does it curb crime? The issue of the death penalty raises many questions and the answer on its effects varies depending on the respondent. The crucial dilemma lies on the legality of the death penalty and its effectiveness in curbing crime…
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Download file to see previous pages Punishments are meant to rehabilitate the criminals and enable them to reform. Therefore, if the criminal is killed, the punishment loses its worth. The measure is effective because it scares off other potential criminals. The opponent perspective terms death penalty as immoral, uncivilized and ineffective in curbing crime. The proponent perspective portends that some crimes are so affront to humanity such that they can only be punishable through death. This paper is an opinionated argument detailing why the death penalty should be retained and the reasons causing the controversy. Death penalty is applied for vicious crimes such as murder and treason. Some of the methods of execution include lethal injection, electrocution and hanging. The 15th century witnessed widespread public executions in Britain, which fuelled a movement that was geared towards abolishment of the penalty. Death penalty was introduced in the United States by the country’s colonial masters, the English. According to Stuart Banner, the first American State to ban the death penalty was Michigan in 1846 (Hood 2). In America, the penalty was first opposed by Ben Franklin when writing the Bill of Rights in the Eighth Amendment. Michigan was the first American state to repeal the penalty in 1846, and by 1917 the norm was adopted by ten states. The 1960s witnessed almost complete extinction of the death penalty – only one execution was performed in 1966. However, the penalty’s near extinction was retracted in 1976 in the case of Gregg vs. Georgia, on which the court ruled that the death penalty does not violate the constitution. Although the death penalty is constitutional, the practice has been characterized by controversy due to the conflicting opinions among the opponents and proponents. The controversy on the use of the death penalty is related to the effectiveness and moral acceptability of the practice. The use of the death penalty in curbing crime is the most controversial measure taken as far as jurisprudence and human rights in a democratic nation are concerned. Proponents and opponents differ over whether the punishment violates human rights and if it is fair to both the victim and the criminal. Application of the penalty towards perpetrators of this vice is a reprieve to the victims. Additionally, it is more effective than other measures such as imprisonment, as criminals fear death more that prisons. Opponents portend that the practice is unusual and cruel as it undermines human dignity. However, the idea of referring the penalty as undermining the human dignity is a one sided school of thought; the victims view is opposite. Some of the disadvantage of the death penalty is that it does not decrease the rate of murder crimes. The most prominent challenge related to its application is its finality. Discussing finality in CatholicPhilly.com, Chaput portends that once the sentencing is carried out there is no retracting like in the case of lesser punishments. The contradicting views among the opponents and proponents revolve around which crimes are vicious enough to merit the death penalty. The obvious crime in this case is first degree murder. However, the dilemma revolves around what is meant by intent and preplanning to warrant the murder as the first degree. For instance, if the murder occurs when a person is committing a lesser crime, does it include intent and planning? When considering treason, should the death penalty be imposed at any ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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