Capital Punishment: For and Against


Capital punishment involves the execution of a person that has been considered to be involved in a criminal offense whose only fair penalty is death. Capital punishment is viewed differently by various countries due to the laws that govern them and what they consider as a serious offense. The different view has also given rise to conflicts between and among groups on the offenses that may be justified for capital punishment. Various guidelines have to be observed before a certain offense is considered to qualify as capital punishment or not. In most cases, capital punishment is usually subjected to individuals that are involved in offenses that involve death and murder (Arthur, 2004, 135). For a person to qualify for capital, punishment, they must not have been involved in a series of murders. An individual that has been identified to have killed the other may immediately be executed even if it was his first attempt. However, in administering such kind of punishment, it must be identified whether the offense was intentional or not. This has been difficult to ascertain considering the instances that may follow such offenses.

Arguments against capital punishment

Capital punishment has received a lot of criticisms and opposition from certain cultural and religious groups. This is so because some of the victims may be accused of offenses that they did not commit. Court cases that may involve murder are so complicated that the truth may be so hard to find. The court will mainly rely on witnesses and evidence that they find before they decide on the kind of punishment to be administered. The investigation procedures that are used may not be always reliable considering the errors and mistakes that may be done in the process. There have been incidences where innocent people have been executed due to the wrong witnesses that have risen against them. At times, what matters in the court is not the guilty party but rather the defense that has risen in their favor. Lawyers have been identified to be the best representatives who can make the guilty party be considered innocent. It is usually about how they twist their language to convince the judge otherwise. Parties that may not be lucky enough to get competent lawyers are usually at the risk of losing the case. This has however caused a lot of doubts about the court procedures that are followed to punish criminals.

Defenses for capital punishment

Capital punishment is the harshest punishment that can be extended to an individual. Once the court has ruled it, there may be little time for the relatives and friends to help the individual out. The court may rely on the strong witnesses that may come in protest of the individual of which the relatives may not be able to defend. Some investigations may take quite some time before the truth is realized. In the process of carrying out investigations, some of the crucial evidence to the case may be lost which may make one party be judged unfairly. Compared to other forms of jail sentences where the criminal may have a second chance, capital punishment gives them no chance. There is usually no room for them to reform as they are considered to be very dangerous. This is one aspect of the punishment that has been a source of conflict. The punishment indicates that the victim cannot change or even if there is any room for change, they are completely denied. This in itself means that the court has given up on the person or they are not just willing to give them a chance to reform.

Capital punishment is usually considered to be a solution especially when the offense that was committed by the individual is so stigmatizing to society. Most of the people that are subjected to capital punishment may have been involved in a series of killings and hence feared by society. Surprisingly, some of these individuals may be held in high esteem by their family members and relatives who may not be aware of their evil practices. Even after all the evidence has been collected to signify that the individual was involved in the killings, the family may still be under great shock and not ready to let them go. The criminals are usually a threat to society and the nature of their crimes may signify that if given another chance, they would still be involved in such offenses (Arthur, 2004, 122). They are hence dreaded by the society that has to take urgent measures to avoid any further losses. To minimize such stigma, the court may have no otherwise but to execute the criminals.

Some of the offenses that such criminals are engaged in are of abnormal nature which makes it hard to determine the reason why they engaged in them. Before any corrective or punishment procedure is passed on a criminal, the court will not only seek to find out if they committed the crime but also why they did so. In finding out why they engaged in the crime, it will be easier to determine whether there is room for them to change or not. Most of the dangerous criminals that have been recorded in the courts are usually suffering from a psychological problem or inclines to a religious group that demands them to do so. The other reason why the court has to find out the reason why the person engaged in such a crime is to find out if other individuals may also be involved in the offense. This will ensure that the matter is completely handled and that the other criminals that may be involved are punished accordingly. In case of a psychological problem, the criminal may be rehabilitated for some time and taken through therapeutic procedures to find out if they will change. However, for those that are engaged especially in serial killings due to their religious inclinations, they will have to find out how they do it. For the latter, nothing much may be done rather than subjecting them to the punishment as they may never change.

The concept of capital punishment

The concept of capital punishment is based on the principle of paying life for life. It is considered as the best way that will bring some consolation to the family of the individual or individuals that were killed (Arthur, 2004, 180). It is also meant to serve as a lesson to any other person that may want to be involved in the offense. As this is considered to be a consideration for subjecting the individuals to such a harsh punishment, the question has always remained whether this is helping in minimizing the rate of such crime. People that may be involved in serial killing or murder of any case may not be in their right sense of mind. They may be influenced by certain pressures either within or without. Most of them realize how serious the offense they committed was during court procedures. Some of them may also have no regard for life and hence not care much whether they are killed or not. When such reasoning is considered, we come to realize that the punishment is mainly to console the community and probably the family of the deceased rather than minimizing the crime. Another argument against it is the fact that no kind of justice may be achieved. Killing an individual because they killed another may not be a solution considering the economic importance that is attached to them. The victim that died and the one being killed may have some significance to their families. This hence means that more than one family is going to suffer simply because the court decided to pay death for death.


Capital punishment is a procedure that was reached after considering certain factors. There are however amendments that have continued to be done to accommodate the changes that are taking place (Arthur, 2004, 103). As the practice continues to receive criticisms on the criteria that are used to punish the criminals, it is still considered by various laws as the most appropriate punishment for murder criminals. In support of the procedure, most religious books including the bible have mentioned the ultimate punishment for all criminals which will be death. By subjecting murder criminals to capital punishment, it is considered as the fairest way that will ensure they never engage in such a practice again. The pain of it however comes when considered that the family may suffer for what they had no idea of.

Reference list

Arthur, J. (2004). Morality and moral controversies: readings in moral, social, and political philosophy. Pearson Prentice Hall: Indiana.

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