Historically, the crowds of people gathered in the squares to see how criminals were hanged, beheaded, or burned. The executions in more ancient times were even more brutal, such as pouring boiling resin or impaling criminals. Nevertheless, these methods did not scare off the audience or restrict them. On the contrary, people wanted more bloody spectacles, while the environment of cruelty and impassivity encouraged new crimes to be committed with enviable regularity. One could say that society had changed, but the UN report showed that the countries with the legal death penalty have higher crime rates that are “worthy” of this punishment (Kleinstuber et al. 188).
The opponents of the death penalty use a variety of arguments to defend their position. There are a number of arguments against this punishment, which refer to the need to focus not only on criminals but also on society as a whole. First, the death penalty denies the principle of punishment, the main content of which is a correction (Garrett et al. 592; Garrett 120). Second, the juries, who can make a mistake, often do not find the defendants guilty, because they do not want to condemn them to death (Kim 615; Breyer 78; Cholbi and Madva 523). Third, the condemnation to death and execution of sentences has a demoralizing effect on society and sometimes leads to the commission of the same crimes in the future. The execution of a death sentence has a harmful effect on perpetrators and other prisoners (Ye et al. 69). The supporters of death penalty insist that it is more beneficial economically rather than imprisonment and that it frees society from “defective” individuals.
Society is responsible for its members who have committed a crime, and has no right to pass the death sentence since not only the murderer is guilty of the crime. To some extent, society is also guilty because of the decline in morals, social inequality, and so on (Malkani 90; Williams 255). The main question is why in the same social environment, the same parents grow up completely different children? Personally, I cannot fully agree with the theory of innate crime as every person chooses his or her own path in life. Nevertheless, society provides different conditions of life that can be disadvantaged or insufficient for people to meet their goals. It is evident that because crime is multilayered and complex in nature, which is due to a number of reasons, the methods to address it should also be multifaceted (Baumgartner et al. 32). A person sentenced to death begins to look at the world differently, experiencing a kind of enlightenment, but he or she lacks the opportunity to improve. In many cases, death penalty does not make any sense, and, therefore, it should be abolished.
In my point of view, the topic of the death penalty is important to research to understand its benefits and drawbacks to formulate strong arguments for its elimination. Personally, I was not directly impacted by this topic, but I believe that every person should contribute to promoting human rights and canceling this ultimate cruelty. Therefore, the proposed paper would examine the reasons to abolish the death penalty based on the academic literature and official websites of international organizations. It is expected to begin with the historical perspective to understand this punishment’s roles and consequences. Furthermore, the modern state of the death penalty in the world would be discussed. The arguments of opponents and proponents would be analyzed to make relevant conclusions.
Baumgartner, Frank, et al. Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty. Oxford University Press, 2017.
Breyer, Stephen. Against the Death Penalty. Brookings Institution Press, 2016.
Cholbi, Michael, and Alex Madva. “Black Lives Matter and the Call for Death Penalty Abolition.” Ethics, vol. 128, no. 3, 2018, pp. 517-544.
Garrett, Brandon L. et al. “The American Death Penalty Decline.” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 107, no. 4, 2017, pp. 561-642.
Garrett, Brandon. End of its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice. Harvard University Press, 2017.
Kim, Dongwook. “International Non-Governmental Organizations and the Abolition of the Death Penalty.” European Journal of International Relations, vol. 2, no.3, 2016, pp. 596-621.
Kleinstuber, Ross, et al. “Into the Abyss: The Unintended Consequences of Death Penalty Abolition.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law & Social Change, vol. 19, 2016, pp. 185-206.
Malkani, Bharat. Slavery and the Death Penalty: A Study in Abolition. Routledge, 2018.
Williams, Kenneth. “Why the Death Penalty is Slowly Dying.” Southwestern Law Review, vol. 46, 2016, pp. 253-255.
Ye, Xinyue, et al. “Analyzing Public Opinions on Death Penalty Abolishment.” Chinese Sociological Dialogue, vol. 3, no. 1, 2018, pp. 53-75.