First Lady of the United States and actress Nancy Davis Reagan once said, “I believe that more people would be alive today if there were a death penalty.” Even though capital punishment is frequently considered immoral and inhumane, it may prevent or mitigate the chance of serious crimes, including murder. Therefore, paradoxically, it might be possible to decrease the number of deaths by applying the death penalty. Capital punishment may serve as a more frightening factor than a life sentence for potential criminals, reducing crime rates even further. Hence, the death sentence should be activated in every country of the world.
History of Capital Punishment
The death sentence represents one of the most ancient types of punishment that was broadly utilized throughout human history. However, it was not always viewed as a response to serious crimes and was frequently much more brutal and inhumane than the modern methods. Nowadays, capital punishment is prohibited in most countries, with rare exceptions. Moreover, even if it is legally allowed, it is rarely implemented. During the last few decades, the death sentence transformed into a measure that is only used in extreme cases. In addition, as society developed and underwent significant changes, new ethical and moral principles emerged, leading to the death penalty prohibition. At the moment, capital punishment is used by approximately 60 countries out of 195, which is a relatively small number compared to the past (Pandey, 2020). Nevertheless, the death sentence remains a highly debatable topic with a considerable amount of people on both sides.
Death Sentence as a Response to Severe Crime
As already mentioned, the death penalty may serve as a highly effective deterrent to crime. The instinct of self-preservation is one of the strongest instincts, which explains the fear of death. Therefore, it may be possible to utilize human nature in order to discourage people from committing serious crimes. Furthermore, high-risk prisoners sentenced to life may continue their criminal activity from prison. In some cases, such criminals may even murder other people detained in the facility. Applying capital punishment may significantly decrease the risk of such serious consequences. Finally, the death sentence may appease the victims and their families, serving as retribution. It may help these people recover from their suffering and mitigate the possible psychological trauma. In addition, retribution is essential as it may help both the victims and the public achieve a sense of justice.
Ethical and Moral Dilemmas
Nevertheless, some moral issues related to capital punishment also require consideration. First, the judicial system is imperfect, and it may not be possible to exclude the probability of false accusations. The application of the death penalty to an innocent person represents an irreparable mistake that contradicts humane principles. Second, capital punishment and related legal costs exceed the expenses of maintaining a prisoner with a life sentence. However, legal frameworks improve constantly, and new investigation methods, including technological advancements, are utilized. Therefore, the probability of a judicial error decreases, mitigating related risks. In addition, further legislation development and digital technology may reduce the costs related to judicial proceedings.
Capital punishment is a highly controversial topic with a considerable number of advantages and disadvantages. Even though it is frequently considered inappropriate and expensive, the possibility of preventing severe crimes and reduce the number of victims is more important. With the development of technologies and investigation methods, it may be possible to introduce a relatively humane approach to a death sentence with minimal risks. Therefore, it might be rational to accept the death penalty as a legal punishment on an international level.
Pandey, P. (2020). Capital punishment: Pros & cons. Law Times Journal. Web.