The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty In the past, people have invariably felt that if they had been wronged in some way, it was his or her right to take vengeance on the person that had wronged them. This mentality still exists, even today, but in a lesser form because the law has now outlined a person’s rights and developed punishments that conform to those rights, yet allow for the retribution for their crime. However, some feel that those laws and punishments are too lax and criminals of today take advantage of them, ie. organized crime, knowing very well that the punishments for their crime, whether it be murder, theft, or any other number of criminal activities, will be so negligible that it may be well worth their risk. Although in the past, the number of crimes that were subjected to capital punishment, defined simply as the death penalty for a crime, were outrageous. Amendments were made to reflect the changes in the society’s views on the morality of capital punishment. That resulted in the narrowing down of the list of one hundred crimes to twelve, punishable by the death penalty in 1833, and in 1869 it was cut down yet again to just three: treason, rape, and murder because of violent nature of these crimes.

These crimes, even today, are still viewed as violent and should be punished with the highest degree of discipline available to achieve justice. After much public pressure, capital punishment was suspended on a trial run in 1967. This proved to be ineffective, because even though the law stipulated that crimes such as treason or the murder of law enforcement agents, were still to be subjected to the death penalty, the federal cabinet continued to commute those criminals from death to life sentences, hence the law was not being followed and justice was not being served. This soon was followed with capital punishment’s abolishment in 1976, as a formal declaration of what was already happening or rather what was not happening. It is felt that because of this and the fact that there has not been an execution since 1967, that today’s current form of punishments are no longer a sufficient deterrent for such serious crimes and have contributed to a ever rising crime rate.

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So, this is where the real issue of whether or not capital punishment should exist begins and such a controversial issue could be best understood if we looked at capital punishment in a perspective of how it fulfils or does not fulfil society’s ideas of punishment : Is not one of the four fundamental objectives behind punishment retribution? The sentencing objective based on the principle of an-eye-for-an-eye, which means that what one person has done to another should also be done to that person in return. Is that not justified, especially in cases of premeditated murder of another human begin, another life? Does capital punishment not act as a deterrent? Does it not threaten with an imposition of a penalty for the commission of an act considered wrong by society? What about segregation? Does capital punishment remove criminals from society so that they cannot repeat their offence or commit other offences against society? Doesn’t capital punishment follow the above three objectives well?? Most people would say it does. But then, of course, people who support the abolishment of capital punishment would ask about rehabilitation, the re-training of prisoners with an employable skill for use when they are released. Not only is it expensive to re-train and house criminals, but with some, it is just not possible, because they are hardened criminals and will not change. For those people, it is just not worth the effort and the taxpayers’ money to even attempt to reform them.

Also, another point to consider is that today prison terms are not enough. Many people are allowed out early on parole and/or remission resulting in criminals just serving one third of their prison terms and being released back into society. This type of quick release cannot adequately retribute someone’s death nor deter others strongly enough from repeating the same offence that the criminals already have. As you can see, capital punishment fulfils our society’s checklist of what a punishment should do, especially the objective of retribution. Many people who want capital punishment restored, have also clearly stated that without a suitable punishments for crimes, justice will never truly be served to those that have suffered damages or losses.

People will think less and less of the law and start resorting to private law and order. This would not only create chaos but raise the crime rate further with people running around on private vendettas. Even with these facts and arguments, the federal government refuses to restore the death penalty. So all we can do now is protest to the government, wait, and hope that it will not take a high crime rate and the loss of many innocent lives before they realize what a mistake they made in 1976 by totally abolishing capital punishment. ..

A sinner may commit a hundred crimes and still live. – Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 Current Events Essays.

The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty The Death Penalty Why is the death penalty used as a means of punishment for crime? Is this just a way to solve the nations growing problem of overcrowded prisons, or is justice really being served? Why do some view the taking of a life morally correct? These questions are discussed and debated upon in every state and national legislature throughout the country. Advantages and disadvantages for the death penalty exist, and many members of the United States, and individual State governments, have differing opinions. Yet it seems that the stronger arguments, and evidence such as cost effectiveness, should lead the common citizen to the opposition of Capital Punishment. Those who choose to support Capital Punishment are assuming that just because death is an absolute form of punishment, it will be a strong deterrent to crime. Yet, the US is the only Western nation that still allows the death penalty, and we also have one of the highest crime rates. During the 1980s, death penalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.5 criminal homicides per 100,000, while abolition states averaged a rate of 7.4 per 100,000 (Bryant).

This data shows that a threat of Capital Punishment has no effect on crime in America. Furthermore, the Miami Herald reported that Florida, with one of the nation’s largest death rows, has estimated that the true cost of each execution is approximately $3.2 million, or approximately six times the cost of a life-imprisonment sentence. This shows that not only is the threat of being placed on death row ineffective, but the act is much more expensive than just leaving the accused in jail. Aren’t here other areas of need where this large sum of money could be used more effectively? Supporters of Capital Punishment have various reasons for their opinions. Michael Bryant, a 30-year old columnist writer, posted some facts and opinions on the Internet representing the viewpoint of a Capital Punishment supporter.

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Keeping a prisoner in jail for life will be very expensive considering that it costs $80,000 a year; and the bad news is that the money comes from the taxpayer’s pocket. Thousands of people will attack the death penalty. They will give emotional speeches about the one innocent man who might be executed. However, all of these people are forgetting one crucial element. They are forgetting the thousands of victims who die every year. This may sound awkward, but the death penalty saves lives. It saves lives because it stops those who murder from ever murdering again (Bryant).

These opinions represent some of the strongest and most influential views that proponents hold. However, if our prison system could rehabilitate more effectively, perhaps those who murdered once, could change. Texas being one of the states within the U.S. that allows Capital Punishment also has one of the largest death rows. Jim Mattox, former Attorney General of Texas, who supported the death penalty during his term of office, does not believe that murderers in Texas are hindered by the death penalty.

Mattox interviewed nearly all the people executed in Texas between 1976 and 1988 and concluded that the death sentence never crossed their minds before they committed their crime. “It is my own experience that those executed in Texas were not deterred by the existence of the death penalty,” he said (Death). It seems that even supporters of the death penalty are unsure of its effectiveness. One of the most controversial applications of the death penalty has been developing for twenty-two years in Texas. Joseph Faulder, a Canadian citizen, was sentenced to death in 1977 for a murder committed in Dallas. Canada, his home country, does not practice Capital Punishment. Though he appealed seventeen times, and his execution would violate a two-hundred year old federal law known as the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Texas judiciary system sent Faulder to his death on June 17, 1999. Even a flood of official protests from Canadian state officials, U.S.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the human rights arm of the Organization of American States, even the Vatican, also proved of no avail (Ward). Quoting Diane Clements, a protester in favor of the execution, “The message to them tonight is to stay home, don’t butt in where you don’t have business in Texas (Ward). In this highly controversial event, the dangers of the God-like powers given to the courts under Capital Punishment are evident. Not only could this event have caused an international crisis, but it was an unneeded display of power by the Texas judiciary system. Even though the majority of the states in the U.S., thirty-eight, support Capital Punishment, there is still a strong opposition towards it.

Opponents argue that if our prison system were effective, there would be no need for Capital Punishment. Congressmen Mark Price states his views on our prison system: “While I do not think that sending a person to ‘rehab’ will help them always, I do believe that people who once molested, raped, or murdered in cold blood can be healed and brought back to function in this society. The problem is that prison doesn’t rehabilitate, it can make the person even more offended and sickened at society and prone to harming themselves or innocent victims. It is not just as simple to supply answers that will work when applied to reality. I think that placing a person in a loving, nurturing environment will eventually bring out the best in them” (Pragmatic).

As implied by Mark Price, our prison systems are doing an ineffective job of rehabilitation, and don’t supply the kind of environment that encourages change. This problem is seemingly endless though. The penal system of the United States, and Texas in particular is already extremely overcrowded, and a positive environment can’t be produced without individual attention. Yet, the reform of prisons is perhaps the key to changing current views upon Capital Punishment. Society needs to concentrate on helping those who need help, instead of simply discarding, or eliminating the problem.

Why is the death penalty used as a means of punishment for crime? As discussed above, there seems to be no prevalent reason for Capital Punishment to continue. It can cause unnecessary disputes, waste precious money and time, and it doesn’t deter crime. Maybe the key for reform is within the prison system itself, but change is not approaching quickly. It seems that for now, opponents will have to deal with Capital Punishment and hope for the best. Bibliography Works Cited Bryant, Michael.

“Thoughts on Capital Punishment.” (June 12, 1999) “Is the Death Penalty Necessary?” (June 15, 1999) “Pragmatic Arguments Against the Death Penalty.” (June 12, 1999) Ward, Mike. “Canadian executed after pleas exhausted.” 18 June 1999. Section B, page 1. Political Issues.

The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty
The death penalty is a subject that has had much more popularity since it was
reinstated in 1976, compared to the years prior. It is a subject that raises
many moral issures. It questions the constitution an most of all it questions
god. If there is an individual in society who has no remorese ruthlessly
taking another life, what should be his or her punishment? Letting them go free
is obviously out of the question, and what of our rapidly fill filling prison
facilities and the cost? What about the victims and their families? What about
the ten commandments and thoushalt not kill Should the judicial system have the
right to sentence someone to death, or should we letr god be the one to play
“god”?
People who ruthlessly kill. Wouldn’t they be less likely to kell if they knew
that if they too a life , theirs would be taken also? If the death penalty was
upheld and used more often, we could eo away with the evils of our society.

Jails wouldn’t be so overcrowded and if we killed the killers then their organs
could be given to science to save the lives of good peo;le who really need the
help./ The death of a slayer would give the sense of closure and would allow
the victims families to not live in fear.

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