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Anti-Death Penalty - Research Paper Example

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The paper tells that ever since the beginning of humankind, the death penalty has been used as a manner by which wrongdoers are punished for their crimes against society. The oft-quoted Biblical saying, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” captures succinctly this notion of retributive justice…
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Anti-Death Penalty
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Download file to see previous pages As the paper outlines many imaginative and cruel ways of implementing the death penalty have been witnessed through time – from the guillotine to the garrote to firing squads to gas chambers to electric chairs -- before the more “humane” lethal injection has been made the manner of choice in countries that consider themselves civilized. However, there still are some countries in the world that use cruel ways of implementing capital punishment. Worse, these are for crimes that in many jurisdictions would not warrant the death penalty, or in some cases, any punishment at all. In Sudan, for example, a married person found guilty of adultery is executed by stoning; an unmarried person receives 100 lashes. In Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, a woman and a man were stoned to death in public using palm-sized stones for non-marital sex. The man died within minutes but the woman had to be finished off by dropping a large chunk of stone over her head. This paper will argue that the death penalty should no longer be used as a form of punishment. Four main arguments will be forwarded. First, the irrevocability of the death penalty means that there is no hope of correcting an injustice committed against a convict later found to be innocent. Second, it violates the principle of restorative justice, which should replace the principle of retributive justice. Third, it has been proven by empirical evidence that it in no way deters crime or helps in crime prevention. Fourth, racial biases affect any objective application of the death penalty law. Human errors and frailty, as well as the lack of adequate forensic facilities in some countries, have led to many convictions that later turn out to be wrong. In a situation where the maximum penalty that may be meted out is life imprisonment, the State may still be able to provide reparation for an innocent man wrongly convicted. He will be allowed to go free and will even be given damages. In a country where the death penalty is legal, the finality of the sentence of death renders any mistake in convictions irreversible. The problem is seriously considering that, according to a death penalty information website, "since 1973, at least 121 people have been released from death row after evidence of their innocence emerged. During the same period of time, over 982 people have been executed. Thus, for every eight people executed, we have found one person on death row who never should have been convicted." This issue has generated widespread public outrage and is perhaps one of the more compelling reasons as to why the anti-death penalty advocates are gaining ground. Says Haines (125): An analysis of newspaper coverage suggests that flawed convictions, in which possibly innocent persons either suffer or narrowly escape execution, are especially potent threats to public support for capital punishment. The injustice brought about by sending an innocent man to prison is magnified a thousandfold by the horrific idea that such an innocent man might be wrongly executed. There can be no recompense that may be provided to the dead. In recent times, we have seen a paradigm shift from retributive justice, where a convict is made to pay for grievances to the community he belongs to, to restorative justice, wherein a recognition is made that a crime has been committed and a wrong has been done, but the convict is still a member of the community and is perceived as a human being with the capacity for reform.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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