Capital punishment or the death penalty is a type of a government-sanctioned execution whereby an offender is put to death for a committed crime. Capital punishment has been a highly controversial topic for a long time. People widely applied this brutal measure throughout the history. However, this question raised a huge wave of resentment in the previous century, which caused the prohibition of the death penalty in many countries. People realized that it cannot be an option. However, some individuals believe that under certain circumstances capital punishment is necessary. The main goal of this paper is to discuss the issue of the death penalty in order to demonstrate proof that this measure is unacceptable and should be prohibited.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Death Penalty
Many people still support the death penalty, and they have various reasons for that. However, the three most significant points are worth a profound and comprehensive discussion. The first widespread opinion is that this measure prevents criminal from committing heinous crimes. The effectiveness of capital punishment is often emphasized by its supporters (“Cost of the death penalty”). Advocates for the death penalty state that potential offenders are scared of being executed. Therefore, this fear stops them from committing serious crimes like rapes or murders. It is considered to be the strongest deterrent to violations of federal laws. Executed offenders serve as an example for potential felons because the news about such executions becomes widely known among criminal community.
Hence, it discourages people to breach the law. The second reason that supporters of the death penalty refer to is that the government needs to spend much money on maintaining prisoners (Blakelock 1). If capital punishment is banned, criminals who have been convicted of violent crimes will get only a life sentence. Therefore, they will stay in prison for a long time. It requires additional funds. Moreover, the number of inmates is becoming bigger and bigger nowadays. It means that citizens will pay for their accommodation, food, and healthcare services. Many people believe that such spending is irrational and impractical. The third reason for the death penalty is that this measure is humane and painless. Lethal injections are widely used in different states and countries (“Cost of the death penalty”). Such a method is perceived to be civilized and appropriate.
However, these reasons cannot be fully justified. First of all, the death penalty does not necessarily reduce crime rates (“5 reasons to abolish the death penalty”). For example, despite legitimating it, the population of inmates in the United States is one of the biggest in the world. On the contrary, India, which banned capital punishment, is at one of the lowest positions for this indicator (“Highest to Lowest – Prison Population Total”). Also, different studies are conducted to obtain relevant data. Statistics show that states that have banned capital punishment have lower murder rates by 25 percent in comparison to states that apply this measure (“Deterrence: States without the death penalty”). In addition, there are various studies that support such a position. For example, a survey by the New York Times demonstrates that “states without the death penalty have lower homicide rates than states with the death penalty” (“Deterrence: States without the death penalty,” para. 1). Moreover, it reports that homicide rates are below the national average in these states.
Second, in spite of the fact that inmates require additional financing, it is totally reasonable. The death penalty does not reduce the population of prisoners. Therefore, the prohibiting of this measure will not cause an increase in spending on prison maintenance. Another important fact is that substances that are used in lethal injections and other expenses associated with death penalty procedure cost a lot. Research conducted in the United States revealed that “seeking and imposing the death penalty is more expensive than not seeking it,” and “capital cases cost 3.2 times more than non-capital cases” (“Cost of the death penalty,” para.1). Also, there is not enough evidence that capital punishment is economically effective measure.
Finally, the nature of human beings implies dignity, equality and hence reverence towards each other. All these are totally incompatible with such a horrible execution. There are some cases when the executed did not die after lethal injections. They suffer excruciating pain for about half an hour. Such incidents are traumatic not only for criminals but also for witnesses and personnel. Therefore, the claim that the death penalty is humane is false.
There are several important reasons against the death penalty. First, there is always a little chance to execute an innocent person. Statistics present an enormous number of such cases. Death Penalty Information Centre provides real numbers of people who were pleaded guilty to crimes they have not committed. According to official statistics, “there have been 160 exonerations in 28 different States” in 2017 (“Innocence and the death penalty,” para. 3). Therefore, in case if every person who is accused of violent felonies is sentenced to death, many mistakes will be made, and people who do not deserve it will be put to death.
In addition, capital punishment violates an inherent right of all people. Every human being has the right to live, and it is untouchable. Neither government nor other individuals can deliberately take a person’s life. It is one of the main points of people who are against death penalty. All human rights activists strongly disapprove of this measure, emphasizing that society cannot develop without prohibiting capital punishment. This right should be guaranteed by law.
Finally, many criminals change their perceptions while being in prison. Such people regret their terrifying felonies and eventually want to make amends for their mistakes. Many of them serve as a role model for other prisoners and promote another lifestyle. Their examples inspire people and teach them that crimes do not pay. However, the death penalty takes away their opportunity to evolve into better persons.
In conclusion, many people totally disagree with such views. They insist that the death penalty is an unquestionably reasonable measure that should be applied under certain circumstances. Capital punishment supporters state that individuals who expose society to the inevitable threat must be stopped at any cost. However, this method is not humane as it violates the fundamental human right to live. In addition, the death penalty is not economically effective because the government has to spend a substantial amount of budget to carry out such executions. Also, capital punishment does not lead to a reduction in crime rates. Moreover, states with the death penalty have a larger number of felonies. Therefore, civilized communities should not continue to use this type of execution, and every effort has to be made to ban it.
Blakelock, Mary. Disadvantages of the death penalty. 2013. Web.
“Cost of the Death Penalty.” DPIC, Web.
“5 Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty.” Amnesty International. 2017, Web.
“Highest to Lowest – Prison Population Total.” PrisonStudies, Web.
“Innocence and the Death Penalty.” DPIC, Web.