In most cases, the death penalty is the only sentence. Death, on the other hand, is the most severe penalty that can be meted out to a person. At the moment, only fifty-eight countries currently have the death penalty. America is one of the nations that currently uses the death penalty, but it is now used by those found guilty of first-degree murder. Individuals who believe in capital punishment often contend that it plays a major part in deterring murders (Hall, Melinda Gann and Paul Brace, 136). Thus, the aim of this paper is to provide a dialogue on both the negative consequences of the death penalty and its usefulness in stopping crime. There is the necessity for considering some of the crucial background information concerning the death penalty. The origin of the capital punishment in America is traceable to Britain during the declaration of independence of by the founding fathers. The founding fathers of the nation exhibited the preference for the idea of capital punishment since by then it was a regular aspect of life. The Europeans often give the capital punishment for the different crimes. The first documented capital punishment in US occurred in 1608 of an individual convicted of treason. In the previous colonial periods, the laws concerning death punishment mainly varied significantly from one location to the other.
Moreover, it is essential to note that the death penalty has changed significantly during the nineteenth century. The change saw capital punishment lose its popularity. The different nations no longer exhibit the preference for committing public executions. Presently, America still practices capital punishment. However, there is the necessity for noting the presence of limitations to the practice. For instance, the government is often not permitted to execute the mentally disabled persons and juveniles. Presently, the state of US often exhibits the preference for using the different methods of execution that include hanging, lethal gases, lethal injections, firing squad, and electrocution. The means of punishment often tend to vary significantly with the state. Despite the different countries still practicing capital punishment, the executions have declined considerably in comparison to the previous times.
The individuals in support of the death penalties often argue that the death penalties serve as effective ways of ensuring deterrence while offering retribution against the murderers. However, there is the need for noting that the issues tend to be highly debatable and subject to criticism. The goal of punishment often entails deterrence. The concept often works, but there is the necessity for noting that it is not usually effective for all the criminals. The individuals in support of the capital punishment often argue that the capital punishment is instead an efficient way of deterring against criminal activities. (Tibbs, 83) in his study argue that practicing death penalty usually play a significant role in ensuring effective reduction of the seemingly violent crimes. The violent crimes have decreased significantly in the recent years a factor that is attributable to the practice of the capital punishment. However, the statistics from the studies may be inaccurate hence the necessity for their close examination (Boegel, 18). There exist vast amounts of conflicting evidence from similar studies conducted in the recent times and the past as well.
Retribution is another significant objective of punishment. The scholars often argue that putting a killer to death serves as a substantial way of ensuring reduction of the possible occurrence of other criminal activities involving murder. The American society thus appears as following the concept of retribution. (Hossain, et al., 343) their study argue that in taking life, the balance of justice is often disturbed. The restoration of balance in such case is thus necessary and plays a significant role in allowing the society to depict convincingly of the fact that murder is instead an intolerable crime that should be punished in any way possible. However, such ideology tends to portray numerous flaws that concern ethics. For instance, if a country decides on punishing an individual through killing, what gives the state the right to kill?
The different articles thus fail in the provision of substantial evidence supporting the role of capital punishment on deterring crime. Despite the support of the notion that the death penalties often prevent crime, the authors fail to provide adequate information to support their statement. There is usually the necessity for ensuring the availability of robust evidence necessary for proving a particular theory. However, the individuals in support of the death penalty as a form of deterrence fail significantly in providing adequate proof of their argument. As such, there is the necessity for critics thus dismissing the argument that the capital punishment often operates as deterrence.
Additionally, numerous studies tend to disapprove the theory that the capital punishment often acts as an effective deterrence against both the murderers and violent crimes. The study conducted by PR, Newswire, (124) mainly suggest that the without the death penalty in the state, there has been a significant decrease in the murder rates. Moreover, the study conducted by Samuels, (26) suggests that since the abolishment of the death penalties in New York State, the murder rates had decreased significantly, in comparison to when the nation practiced death sentences. In fact, in the first year of abolishment of capital punishment, the country witnessed a significant drop in the murder rates.
There is the necessity for noting that one of the reasons for consideration of death penalty not as deterrence entails that fact that most of the offenders often do not believe that they will be caught. In actual sense, no individual is likely to murder if they know that they would be executed. Deterrence is thus more of a psychological process. The presence of deterrence is, therefore, attributable to the belief by the offenders of the existence of real risk.
Moreover, the provision of the death sentence as retribution does not make sense anymore in the present society. Through the execution of the offenders, the government often sends sublime messages concerning the murder. The primary objective of punishing offenders through capital punishment usually entails the need for the government to express the fact that killing is an intolerable crime. However, through executing the offenders, the government seems to contradict itself significantly. Additionally, the death penalties often appear as revenge on the part of the state. There is the necessity for noting that two wrongs do not always make a right hence through revenge by executing the criminals the government fails to bring back the victims or ensure compensation of their families. In the present 21st century, there is the necessity for providing that the criminal laws reflect higher standards concerning the concept of an eye for an eye.
In the contemporary society, the capital punishment no longer serves as a form of retribution in the present community. There exist huge delays in executing inmates. Statistics show that there exists eight-year wait period before executing the inmates. Majority of the death row inmates often die of old age before their execution sentences. For instance, in the state of California, there are more than seven hundred inmates on death row. However, the State has seen only thirteen inmates executed since 1976. The result is that most of the death row inmates are often more likely to die of natural causes before carrying out of their execution sentences.
The groups of individuals that often consider the death penalty as retribution often fail significantly in their recognition of the execution process in the criminal justice system that guides the activities that take place. An inmate is usually granted the opportunity legally allowed to appeal their case. Appealing of the cases are often allowed in the criminal justice system with the aim of ensuring effectiveness in protecting the individuals from potential human errors. Averagely, the appeals can last more than ten years.
Over the years, there is evidence pointing out to the presence of debates concerning the issue of capital punishment that has only contributed to the creation of more divisions within the society. The issue of capital punishment tends to exhibit a high level of sensitivity and often inspires the emergence of sharp divisions in different directions. Just like any other significant problems that include the war on terrorism, gun laws, and abortion, capital punishment is rather an issue that not everyone is likely to agree.
For instance, on consideration of some of the arguments presented on both segments, the opponents of death sentences often argue that execution of an individual is nothing more than an unethical, state-permitted killing. The killing that regularly contributes significantly to undervaluing of the human life and destruction of the respect that the citizens have for their government that as well consider killing a crime. However, the supporters of the death penalty usually think that the ultimate punishment for some of the crimes that include murder entails death. Despite the fact that every individual is often born with the right to live, the criminals usually lose their freedom of life the moment that they decide to take away another individual’s rights and only through punishing them in such a way, the community is capable of ensuring effective proof the value associated with the victim’s right to life.
The opponents of the capital punishment as well claim that the whole principle of the capital punishment is often overshadowed by the proven risk associated with the execution of the innocent persons and that there is often no way of justifying the avoidable killing of such individuals. The report presented by Amnesty International shows that there have been more than 400 known cases of wrongful convictions for the capital offenses in America in the period between 1900 and 1991. These facts often make a good standing point for the opponents of the capital punishment. However, the supporters of the vice often argue that these problems are not attributable to the principle itself but rather its failed implementations and the fact that the opponents often exhibit the preference for using such cases to mask the real issues.
Another crucial point that majority of the opponents often make entails the argument that the capital punishments are usually more costly than the life imprisonments. The study conducted by Ringer, (132) shows that the US often spend between $1 and $7 million on capital cases ranging from arresting the suspects to execution, in comparison to the life imprisonments that usually costs an average of $0.5 million. However, the supporters of the capital punishment often argue that such high costs of the capital cases are only because of the opponents prolonged appeals and that the taxpayers need not to ensure tolerance of the costs associated with supporting murderers for an entire lifetime.
Since the death penalty is no longer an affected punishment, there is the necessity for consideration of the option of abolishing the practice. Throughout the different nations that still practice the vice, many people have often attempted to abolish capital punishment. Many people have been successful in ensuring temporary abolishing the death penalty, but most states guaranteed reinstatement of the death penalty after the judicial review. The different appeals for the abolishment of the practice are often based on varied reasons.
The success in the abolishment of capital punishment in American often necessitates presentation of a case to the American Supreme Court. One is expected to appeal against the death penalty and thus present an argument that a death penalty is no longer a form of justice. The key to winning such case therefore entails ensuring effective presentation of substantial and conclusive evidence. Some individuals may criticize the act of abolishing the capital punishment as a way of increasing the crime rates in the society.
However, the study conducted by Ringer, (130) show that the death penalties are not likely to deter criminals. Presently, there exists no substantial evidence proving the assertion that the death penalties are not capable of preventing criminals. Studies suggest that the states lacking the death penalty tend to have lower murder rates than the countries that practice capital punishments. In the recent studies, the scholars conclude that the estimates claiming that the capital sentence often saves numerous lives are thus not credible (Ross, 318).
The death sentences often vary significantly from one place to another and from one country to another. In some of the places, capital punishment often entails fast hanging or beheading, while in other instances it usually involves slow death and torture. The different religions as well often create provision of the appropriate ways of subjecting individuals to justice through providing the guidelines for executing the different criminals (Thorngate, 23). The proponents of the capital punishment as well often argue that it play a significant role in ensuring effective reduction of the instances of overstretching the available resources besides ensuring effective eradication of the issues of overflowing prisons.
In conclusion, the issue of capital punishment is often the most debatable topic in the criminal justice system. There, however, exist numerous advantages and disadvantages with different factions basing their arguments on various factors associated with the act. However, I feel that there is the necessity for abolishing the death penalties. The individuals that believe in capital punishment often fail to make their case. There is the lack of conclusive evidence to support death sentence as a way of deterrence. Execution of the death row inmates is no longer an easy task. There are often long delays in the execution process with the majority of the convicted individuals dying out of natural causes.
BOEGEL, ELLEN K. “Still Tinkering with Death.” America, vol. 215, no. 16, 21 Nov. 2016, p. 18. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=119437739&site=ehost-live.
Hall, Melinda Gann and Paul Brace. “The Vicissitudes of Death by Decree: Forces Influencing Capital Punishment Decision Making in State Supreme Courts.” Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press), vol. 75, no. 1, Mar. 1994, pp. 136-151. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=9406224609&site=ehost-live.
Hossain, Mahmud, et al. “Capital Punishment and Financial Reporting Fraud: Implications for Secular Countries.” Journal of Developing Areas, vol. 51, no. 2, Spring2017, pp. 343-356. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=123058999&site=ehost-live.
PR, Newswire. “Should Tsarnaev Get the Death Penalty? – Procon.Org Website Examines Pro and Con Arguments.” [“PROCON.ORG-Tsarnaev”]. PR Newswire US, 16 Apr. 2015. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=201504161501PR.NEWS.USPR.DC82591&site=ehost-live.
RINGER, ANDREA. “Purely Personal and Philosophical”: Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller’s Death Sentence Commutations.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly, vol. 74, no. 2, Summer2015, pp. 130-146. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=109059953&site=ehost-live.
Ross, Jeffrey Ian. “Why a Jail or Prison Sentence Is Increasingly Like a Death Sentence.” Contemporary Justice Review, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2012, pp. 309-321. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10282580.2012.707427.
Samuels, Christina A. “Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles.” Education Week, vol. 24, no. 26, 09 Mar. 2005, p. 26. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=16457189&site=ehost-live.
Thorngate, Steve. “Death without Killing. (Cover Story).” Christian Century, vol. 132, no. 17, 19 Aug. 2015, pp. 22-25. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=108682936&site=ehost-live.
Tibbs, Donald F. “TOWARDS an ABOLITION DEMOCRACY: The Death Penalty, Circa 2015.” Widener Law Journal, vol. 25, no. 1, Feb. 2016, pp. 83-101. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=116121494&site=ehost-live.