The death penalty continues to elicit much debate and controversy in both academia and among criminal justice practitioners. There are various moral ethical and religious issues that require consideration without bias. The death penalty has been practiced since pre-historic times ostensibly in the belief that punishment equals justice. However, close examination of the intricacies of the practice in modern day review is just the opposite. The death penalty is brutal, degrading and fails to be effective in deterring crime. This paper accuses the death penalty.
As early as the 1970s the Supreme Court found the death penalty as well as capital punishment law defective. In 1972 the Supreme Court found out that the death penalty laws, the imposition and carrying out of death penalty was cruel and unusual (Kenney, K). This is argued was violation of the 8th and the 14th amendments (Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238).
Examining the revolution of death penalty laws since the 1970s, little has been done despite the gaping defects brought to the fourth. Today the American Bar Association is moving to seek a country wide moratorium on executions (American Correctional Association, 2008). This is after revelations of inequality and unfairness as reported in the Chicago Tribune. But even without the moratorium executions in America have slowed down maybe as a sign of the times. I continue to argue against death penalty and capital punishment from a moral ethical and legal standpoint.
The death penalty is according to me cruel, brutal and unusual. It bears the characteristics of barbaric practices of the uncivilized world in ancient times. Studies have shown ratio disparities in the imposition of the death penalty in different states (Bedau, H 1992). Racial minorities and the poor are more likely to face the death penalty than the elite members of society. Additionally, in cases where the death penalty is wrongful or a mistake has been made capital punishment denies the accused of the benefit of new evidence that may bring about a revocation of the sentence. Due to the irrevocable nature the death penalty thus denies the new process of the law.
Executions undermine the right to life that is God given since God is the author of life it should be left solely to him to take what he has given. Death penalty sends a different message that contravenes the sanctity of life and demonstrates the fact that human life is not to be respected (Johnson, S 2000). It denies the convicted individual the opportunity of examining their lives and perhaps changing their ways even as God would have wished.
The gaping defects discovered by the Supreme Court in the 1970s have been adequately addressed (Bedau H 1992.). The changes witnessed in the death penalty laws since that period have largely been superficial and fail to address the unconstitutionality of the practice as well as the methods of carrying it out. Besides, there is little evidence that death penalty thus indeed serve to deter crime. Instead this practice blocks efforts that could be put into place to ensure that crime is reduced. Death penalty is thus an unfortunate solution to social problems in a society. I feel that death penalty is not correctional in that he does not give convicted individuals any chance of changing their ways and perhaps becoming productive members of the society.
Last but not least there are unavoidable delays in carrying out death sentences due to the procedural safeguards needed. These delays are a waste of resources and a source of psychological strain to the convict since they do not know when their day will come. They thus wait anxiously for a long time.
In view of the above arguments I feel death penalty has no place in a civilized society. It is brutal, degrading and inefficient in deterring crime. It undermines the sanctity of life and is discriminatorily applied in most times. It therefore should be abolished
- Bedau H. A. (1992). The Case Against The Death Penalty.
- Kathleen, M. K. (2008). Supreme Court to Weigh in On Lethal Injection Process. Corrections Today. Lanham: 2008. Vol. 70, Iss. 1; pg. 60, 2 pgs
- Scott L. J. (2000). The Bible and the death penalty: Implications for criminal justice education. Highland Heights: 2000. Vol. 11, Iss. 1; pg. 15, 19 pgs
- Copyright American Correctional Association, Incorporated 2008. Proquest Database.