Many countries, including the US, have laws that allow the criminal justice system to subject offenders to the death penalty depending on the nature and intensity of the offense committed. A number of inmates have been hanged in the past years following the court ruling that favored capital punishment. The act has led to different opinions amongst the public, whereby a section of the people supports the system and prefers it to be retained as a measure of curbing the occurrence of serious felonies in society. However, another group claims that the practice should be banned and whoever is prisoned to have the possibility of receiving parole. Maintaining the rule of applying capital punishment to a certain degree of crimes is essential because it suppress people from engaging in criminal acts.
In order to lower the number of serious crimes such as first-degree murder, it is necessary to subject the offender to capital punishment. Generally, the death penalty incapacitates the ability of the criminal to commit such an offense in the future. When the system fails to conduct such procedures, the likelihood of experiencing an increase in the crime rate in the country will increase (Van den Haag and Hugo 402). Similarly, people believe that when a criminal is executed, it sets a good example to others who might think of engaging in such criminality. It, therefore, prevents the possibility of committing related crimes, thus making the country have reduced cases of severe felonies.
In relation to the dessert-based perspective, offenders who commit murder should face the same fate to experience the pain they inflicted on their victims. Therefore, practicing capital punishment is avenues of ensuring people are punished based on the intensity of suffering they caused to others. When the approach is maintained, the majority of individuals will cease committing such capital offenses in the country. The procedure is effective in lowering the degree of serious felonies in the country.
When a criminal engages in an offense such as murder, they give consent to death punishment. According to the voluntarist model of the sentence, the criminal act contains acceptance of the penalty that will be later imposed on the defendant. By intentionally doing a well-known action will result in the capital sentencing, the situation can be considered an agreement made by the offender to be subjected to a severe price (Finkelstein 16). Therefore, when society sets the death penalty as a form of punishment as a necessary way of protecting people from harm when an individual voluntarily participates in the crime, it gives moral justification to execute. In this situation, it is right to apply the correlative legal punishment.
Imposing the death penalty on severe offenders such as murders is essential to remember to save society from many homicides and other serious crimes. When criminals with the capability of killing, raping and assaulting are not subjected to the cruel wrath of the law, some potential groups might take advantage of the situation and begin performing such unlawful acts. However, when the wrongdoings are rewarded by capital punishment, it serves as a warning to the upcoming generation how the law is against crimes (Van den Haag and Hugo 403). Similarly, it is important to lose a handful of lives in order to save the crowd from the malicious act of murderers.
Despite the legal procedure undertaken before commissioning the death penalty, there are a number of issues that make the process and the command less favorable to society. In most cases, the prosecutors’ decisions on capital sentencing are influenced by factors such as race and economic background. These aspects contribute significantly to the outcome of corporal punishment. Therefore, it is necessary for the criminal court system to formulate convenient ways to handle severe crimes other than subjecting criminals to a death sentence to increase the human rights and the aspect of humanity in the society.
One of the key reasons for the need to abolish death sentencing in courts is the discrimination associated with jurors’ judgment. In most cases, the judges consider the race of the offender and the victim; therefore, their final decision is much influenced based on their skin color. According to the work of Nathanson (152), the race of the killer and the victim plays a vital role. In his argument, the rate of execution is higher in situations where a black person kills a white individual. However, when the situation is reversed, and the black is killed by a white criminal, the likelihood of the death penalty is reduced. This approach of biasness indicates that many people, especially those of color, will be subjected to the death penalty since their skin color cannot support their innocence. Therefore, the practice is unjust and should be considered unconstitutional because it lacks transparency and relies on prejudice.
Several studies have indicated the impact of color in decision-making concerning the death penalty. According to the case of McCleskey’s death sentence, the statistical evidence provided from the Baldus research indicated a great level of influence that race has in judgment-related capital punishment. Some of the findings showed that the rate of capital sentencing cases for white victims is 11 times higher than those involving black counterparts (“Supreme Court of United States”). The proportion of blacks who kill white people and are sentenced to corporal punishment is 22 times greater than those who murder fellow blacks (“Supreme Court of United States”). Similarly, the percentage is seven times higher than the whites who slaughter African Americans. Therefore, showing how many blacks are subjected to corporal punishment than whites.
Furthermore, in most cases prosecutors are less interested in handling involving the whites. They pursue the death penalty for over 65% of defendants of color with white victims and only about 15% of Native Americans with black victims (“Supreme Court of United States”). This system exhibits how most jurors and judges are less motivated to engage in cases calling for death sentencing where a white defendant is involved. This research evidence clearly indicates how the risk of race significantly determines the outcome of capital punishment. In other words, people of the race will face the penalty despite the intensity of their crime hence making the judgment unfair and unconstitutional.
It is not simple to determine who is supposed to die and who does not deserve it. Sometimes judges make decisions that favor one category of offenders and infringe on the rest. There are no clear guidelines in the laws that indicate and differentiate between the individuals worth dying from those who do not (Finkelstein 16). This means that there are limited standards to evaluate and impose the death penalty. In this aspect, it can be noted that when capital punishment is performed, then justice requires punishing the guilty person and sparing the individual. In this scenario, whoever is found guilty is executed without comprise. However, the approach justifies that jurors’ concern is to determine whether a person killed or did not commit the crime. This aspect ignores the need to find reasons why the person engaged in the crime.
Similarly, capital punishment is more severe than subjecting an offender to imprisonment. When criminals are executed, they are obliterated and thus cannot access legal rights and other forms of appeal (Nathanson 161). Generally, the law provides and recognizes the existence of a particular procedure for corporal cases. This approach may unveil new evidence to change the case in favor of the person. If execution is performed already, such rights will be violated, and the process cannot be reversed. Therefore it is appropriate to jail individuals rather than execute them irrespective of the nature of the offense they committed.
In most cases, the aspect of wrongful conviction can occur whereby an innocent person is being sentenced to capital punishment. People are prone to mistakes, and by chance, a person might be mistaken for another hence suffering the fate of somebody’s deed. Similarly, there is the possibility of framing someone in a case they merely knew about. The defendant would likely be executed for a crime they did not commit in such circumstances (Finkelstein 18). To evade such malpractices and blames, it is appropriate to restructure the system to allow people to have adequate time to face trial as further evidence may come to rescue and shed light on the whole situation. Therefore sudden capital sentencing is unfair; it deprives the accused of the opportunity to prove their innocence before the judges supposing they do not have fast hand evidence during the initial hearing.
The criminal justice system should consider applying a moral equivalence approach in cases attracting death sentences. Even though retributivism advocates for the revenge of the crime with punishment with the same intensity, there are other techniques that can be applied to cause the same pain, such as the one victim experienced during the act of the crime (Finkelstein 14). For instance, instead of capital punishment, the court should initiate the use of torture or life imprisonment for the offenders. Sometimes, it is challenging to punish evil by inflicting the same action on the wrongdoer. Therefore, in order to maintain the justice and rights of the assailant, it is important to subject them to different treatment.
Moreover, it is God’s mandate to judge and take life, not civil society. This argument refutes the practice of capital punishment because it undermines God’s role in human life (Finkelstein 15). Human dignity matters, and thus instead of depriving it of them, it should not involve killing. In this perspective, the death penalty is viewed as an inhuman and destructive act that hinders the growth of offenders. Judges, prosecutors, and jurors cannot pass both life and death sentences since they are not sufficiently omniscient.
Generally, to execute an individual, the prosecutors require justified proof that the offense was committed by the same person. The affirmative conformation affects the retributivist since the claim requires the killers to be subjected to moral murder of their own life (Finkelstein 16). This approach implies that if the society or executioner takes someone’s life without proof, then they too should face the same fate and be considered a slaughter.
The death penalty presents human brutalization, which is against humanity. The nature and methods used for executions are unbearable, making the offenders experience extreme pain. It is, therefore, inappropriate to use capital punishment to serve justice for the victim and society (Van den Haag and Hugo 399). Instead, the system criminal justice system should formulate morally justified approaches to deal with crimes involving murder in the community. Furthermore, the practice is assumed to increase the rate of homicides among people in the country. When someone is executed in public, the expected respect for life is diminished; therefore, individuals may see killing oneself as the best approach to solving family tussles and other related conflicts that need a different approach. When capital punishment is prohibited, people will at least value life and thus reduce the cases of murder.
Some of the people who engage in criminal activities such as murder do it because they are irrational. Others do not have an idea of what it implies and the consequence it will bring into their lives. Therefore, subjecting such individuals to capital sentencing will do them more harm than finding a better way to handle their situations (Van den Haag and Hugo 405). It will be considered to incarcerate the offenders because they committed the crime due to passion, which cannot be deterred by imposing a death threat.
Imposing the death penalty is not guaranteed that people will cease engaging in the criminal act punishable by capital sentencing. In most cases, offenders evaluate the intensity of the punishment and relate it with the value they gain from the action (Van den Haag and Hugo 405). Being that the corporal penalty is quick and does not subject them to continuous suffering, some may be tempted to choose and perform the felony that his death sentence as a measure. In this perspective, the application of the practice does not add value but increases the rate of offenses in society. Moreover, comparing the impact of capital conviction and life imprisonment, killers and other serious offenders prefer immediate execution over long-term incarceration. This aspect makes the approach non-deterrence and ineffective in solving the crime puzzle in the community.
In summary, despite the argument of retentionists concerning maintaining the death penalty for severe offenses, the practice violates the rights and dignity of offenders; therefore, it should be abolished from the criminal law. The fact that it is not easy to determine who is supposed to die and the one to live presents a significant dilemma for the situation, especially where there is insufficient evidence of proof to justify the act. Similarly, the law is used to punish people of color because most cases involving blacks and whites as victims make African Americans subjected to the capital penalty, unlike when the blacks were the victims. Incorporating the aspect of racial discrimination makes the practice unjust and unconstitutional. Moreover, public execution has the potential of making people immune and disrespecting the value of life. When individuals continuously observe how the crimes are solved, they might be tempted to do the same at home, leading to increased cases of homicides. It is clear that when the law is retained, there will be more harm to the society than good that comes from the policy.
Finkelstein, Claire. “Death and Retribution.” EBSCO Publishing, 2002, pp. 12-21.
Nathanson, Stephen. “Does it Matter if the Death Penalty is Arbitrarily Administered?” Philosophy & Public Affairs, 1985, pp. 149-164.
Supreme Court of United States. Mccleskey V. Kemp, Superintendent, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center. 1987.
Van den Haag, Ernest, and Hugo Bedau. “The Collapse of the Case against Capital Punishment.” National Review, vol. 31, 1978, pp. 395-407.