Capital punishment by death is an old practice. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and other groups, imposed the death penalty for certain crimes such as adultery and helping slaves to escape. Surprisingly, murder was not one of the crimes. Various methods were employed in executing death sentences. These included crucifying, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement of the offenders.
To date, the death penalty has been a highly controversial and extremely debated issue. Although capital punishment is intended to prevent the criminal from committing another crime, is the death penalty the most effective approach in this regard? Both the proponents and opponents of the death penalty share the desire to punish criminal behaviors, achieve justice for the victims of crime, and protect society. However, the two groups differ in their views on how the punishment should be accomplished ensuring justice for all the parties concerned.
Proponents of the death penalty, encourage its practice as an effective way to discourage heinous crimes. They view the death penalty as a deterrent measure that will stop or lessen incidences of crime. With the death penalty as a consequence, people will think twice about committing a crime that could lead to their death. In addition, they believe that the death penalty brings utmost justice to the victim of the crime.
On the other hand, the objectors of the death penalty believe that it has proven to be an ineffective way to curb crime, flawed with race, gender, and class bias. They argue that members of minority groups receive the death penalty more often compared to affluent offenders convicted of the same crime. Opponents of the death penalty believe that there are better ways to punish crime and keep society safe. Those found guilty of heinous crimes such as murder should be sentenced to serve life imprisonment. This measure will make criminals out of society, and they will no longer be a threat to public safety. Furthermore, when the death penalty is administered, and there is new evidence to prove that a person is innocent, there is no way to undo the sentence.
In conclusion, crimes that lead to the death of another individual should be punished through the death penalty. It is a necessary evil. Human beings have dignity as self-conscious rational agents who can act morally. It is their moral goodness or innocence that bestows dignity and a right to life. Intentionally killing an innocent human being is evil, and the perpetrator forfeits his or her own life. Considering the finality of the death penalty, a convicted offender can never commit another crime.
Throughout history, there have always been those individuals who are capable of committing violent crimes such as murder. Although someone may kill another person in self-defense or a momentary fit of blind rage, others coldly plot and execute the murder of one or more individuals. Murder, just like all other crimes, is a subject of relative degree. Criminal in the first instance should be isolated from society, but such should not be the case for planned murders. If the death penalty were consistent, criminals would be significantly discouraged from heinous acts. However, there should be sufficient proof that the offender is guilty of the crime to rule out the possibility of punishing an innocent person.