Capital Punishment as a National Issue

‘Capital Punishment’ is the lawful punishment by death for a serious crime. The U.S Constitution does not clearly state if Capital Punishment is allowed or not. Its Eighth Amendment states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted” (Findlaw.com). Anti-Capital Punishment people claim that the practice is ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and therefore not allowed. However, Section I of its Article IV states: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings” (Cornell University Law School). Pro-Capital Punishment people claim that the Constitution grants State legislations ‘full faith and credit’ to permit a practice within their territories. Today, 35 U.S states allow Capital Punishment, whereas 15 do not (DPIC). While the controversy continues, Capital Punishment in my opinion is an incorrect form of punishment that should be banned throughout the U.S.

There are several powerful arguments against Capital Punishment. Firstly, Life imprisonment without parole {LWOP} is much better as it does not involve murdering any human being while also delivering a more proper punishment that goes on longer until the end of life (Messerli). Secondly, in reality, it does not prevent crime. For example, although Canada has banned Capital Punishment for many years, there are hardly any bad effects on social life (MVFHR). Thirdly, the family members of those executed are badly affected. They are made orphans or widows and their agony is made longer by lengthy court procedures and news coverage (MVFHR). Fourthly, Capital Punishment has no moral basis as every major religion including the Bible’s New Testament clearly states that it is an ineffective punishment causing social destruction (MVFHR). Fifthly, there are many chances of justice being wrongly delivered. There have been several cases of convicts freed from death row {by third-party assistance} due to mistakes of court officials (MVFHR). Sixthly, Capital Punishment is very expensive, costing the government 2-5 times more than imprisoning that convict for life (Messerli).

In addition to the above 6 statements, arguments favoring Capital Punishment are weak. The first 3 arguments {it permanently removes the worst criminals from society, it prevents crime, and the victims’ families feel satisfied} are well answered by the first 3 anti-Capital Punishment arguments mentioned herein. The fourth pro-Capital Punishment argument that documents respected by the world directly or indirectly permit the practice is answered by the fourth anti-Capital Punishment argument mentioned herein which states that the greatly respected Bible and other religious books that do not approve of Capital Punishment are much more honorable and ethical as compared to other man-made documents. The fifth pro-Capital Punishment argument that it is based on the principle of revenge {‘an eye for an eye’} is answered by the anti-capital Punishment argument that such revenge results in nothing but never-ending violence (Messerli).

In conclusion, in addition to the powerful anti-Capital Punishment arguments mentioned above, the fact that most world nations {66%} are against the practice is very important (University of Alaska). As the U.S is the world leader today, it should present a favorable image to other nations. This will not come about if it continues allowing Capital Punishment thereby presenting an image of a nation allowing violence and revenge; instead, it would be better if it bans the practice.

References

“An International Perspective on the Death Penalty.” University of Alaska Anchorage. 2009. Web.

“Death Penalty Facts”. Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). 2009. Web.

“Death Penalty Information”. MVFHR. (N.d). 2009. Web.

Messerli, Joe. “Should the Death Penalty be banned as a form of Punishment?” Balancedpolitics.org. 2009. Web.

“United States Constitution: Article IV.” Cornell University Law School. (N.d). 2009. Web.

“U.S Constitution: Eighth Amendment.” Findlaw.com. 2009. Web.