Capital Punishment: A Balanced Examination

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 5
Words: 1149
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


Capital punishment is the death penalty, which is a way of punishing criminals by killing them. The essay explores the pros and cons of having capital punishment in the society. The people of United States are still debating about whether the government keep the capital punishment or stop it. While some people argue that death penalty is against the humanity, others believe it is the best type of punishment for those who commit serious crimes such as rape or killing.

Reason for Capital Punishment

The most important reason for the capital punishment is to keep the society safe. However, everyone would ask how death penalty could keep society safe. Death penalty given to a criminal who committed crimes such as rape or killing helps keep the society safe in two ways. First, reduces the number of criminals through executions. Secondly, other criminals who think of committing crime will think of the punishment and would be afraid of losing their lives. These two reasons will reduce the number of criminals in the society (Rita 35).


It is reasonable to say that everyone deserves a second chance in life, but capital punishment is necessary to give justice to the victims’ relatives. Proponents of leniency on suspects of murder do not consider the agony that the criminal has inflicted on the victim’s family and friends. It is therefore justice to ensure that the criminal engaged in such acts receives a similar treatment in order to give justice to the victim’s family.

It is unnecessary for the person who committed the crime to have a second chance to enjoy life, while whom he or she killed did not have. Putting a criminal in jail is the right solution. However, in some cases it is wrong because when he is released from the jail maybe he would commit another crime. It is easier to commit a crime a second time than the first time especially when the person is in a crime environment in the prison surrounded by criminals.

In addition, death penalty has economic benefits as it saves the society a lot of money. If there is no capital punishment, the number of the criminals who would be spending their time in the jail would rise. This issue can therefore be costly to the government, as it would require building jails to contain all of them. Prisoners need a huge number of guards who are salaried. Taking care of the criminals is not easy like what most of the people think. Sometime the criminals attack the guards or threaten them as well as their families. Capital punishment reduces the number of criminals and the rate of crimes (Rita 43).

Reasons against Death Penalty

It is however important to look for the arguments against death penalty. There are reasons that make the executions and use of death penalty unethical. The first reason is that death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment on an individual as taking human life is unethical even when the person is criminal. It is argued that it would not be justice to inflict pain on others just because they have done the act of violence.

The second and the most profound reason of withholding the death penalty is that in most of the cases, the individuals, or the suspect may be innocent and due to erroneous investigations or fatal error in judgment, innocent individuals are executed. Even after knowledge that the individual was innocent there is nothing that may be done to compensate the innocent individual whose has been denied life because of erroneous judgment and investigations. This argument is justified by the fact that in the United States there were over 116 innocent suspects on death row who were acquitted between the 1973 and 1993 (Rita 21).

In many instances, the criminals do not have appropriate attorneys to defend them and they therefore act defenseless. This makes them vulnerable to erroneous investigations and mistaken judgment.

The other reason against the death penalty is that it not only affects the victim but it also inflicts pain on the criminals’ relatives and friends. This pain of loss would not be there in the case of life sentence. It is also a well-known fact that the criminal’s death does not reduce the victim’s pain and sense of loss. The sentence therefore does not help the victim and the criminal (Rita 51).

It has been argued that the death penalty acts as deterrence against crime. However, statistics derived from the states that have banned the death penalty and those that have not indicate otherwise. In states where death penalty is inexistent, they had lower cases of violent crimes compared to instances where it was legal. It would be therefore erroneous to conclude that death penalty is an effective mechanism to deter violent crimes.

In fact, death penalties trigger more deaths in attempt to hide crimes. Life sentence is a viable option as it offers to confine the criminal in prison and rehabilitate the prisoner to a normal member of the society. It denies the criminal a chance to commit crimes and removes unnecessary pain to the criminal relatives who are innocent. In some instances, the criminal is made to work in jail for the victims’ family (Mandery 32).

The other reason against death sentence is that most of the criminals or people who commit murder are usually under the influence of drugs or they are insane. Imposing death sentence on such persons is not just. This is because the punishment eliminates the person who committed murder but does not eliminate the cause of the action. The prisons serve as a rehabilitation centre that can help the person stop the use of drugs and criminal life. In most instances, the death sentence or retributive justice does not take into consideration the underlying factors that led to the crime. Considering the factors that influenced the individual into that crime makes it easy to offer reasonable judgment (Mandery 34).


For a long time death sentence has been an appropriate punishment against anyone who has committed crimes such as murder, rape or other acts of violence. However, as the society evolved, aspects of flawed judicial systems as well as inconclusive investigations processes are exposed. It came to public knowledge that the capital punishments affect innocent people even more than the criminals.

This has seen a number of countries and states doing away with capital punishment and opting for other ways of punishing violent criminals. I am opposed to capital punishment although I propose for stringent punishment on anyone involved in violent crime. Rehabilitating the individuals and making them better members of the society is a better option than killing them. Capital punishment has been in use since time immemorial and crime persist in the society. It is time we explore other better means of deterring crime without taking away the life of criminals.

Works Cited

Mandery, Evan. Capital Punishment: A Balanced Examination. London: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005. Print.

Rita, Simon. A Comparative Analysis Of Capital Punishment: Statutes, Policies, Frequencies, And Public Attitudes The World Over. New York: Lexington Books, 2007. Print.