The Problem of the Death Penalty

As the matter of fact, labeling is an essential part of the human nature. People usually stereotype not only nations but also particular groups based on occupational, race, or religious characteristics. The labeling approach is commonly used in the criminology and research of the deviance (Lilly, Ball, & Cullen, 2015). It should be highlighted that the arguments against the capital punishment can be supported by the labeling theory result in understanding that social stigma has a significant effect on a human life.

According to the labeling theory, the crime rate would increase if the criminal knows that he will face the capital punishment, so he has nothing to lose and will commit severe crimes that will be followed by adverse consequences. The problem of the death penalty is controversial. The experts in criminology cannot find the consensus as there are relevant arguments in support of the capital punishment and against of it as well. The issue is urgent, and it is significantly important to find a solution as in some cases innocent people suffer from the misconduct and are sentenced to death.

A number of cases prove that sometimes social status of the criminal determine to what extent he will be punished (Farrington & Murray, 2014). It should be stressed that some experts makes an accent on the significance of the racial bias in criminology. First and foremost, the problem of the death penalty is connected to the racial discrimination. According to recent researches, the African Americans committed the crime have greater chances to be sentenced to death in comparison to the whites made the same felony (Vito & Maahs, 2012). Race becomes the fundamental problem as it can influence the arrest procedure and the degree of punishment.

Social labels and stereotypes can affect the development of the human being and impact the attitude towards crime actions. According to the major principle of the labeling theory “trying to prevent crime, the criminal justice system actually produces or promotes more crime” (Vito & Maahs, 2012). One of the pivotal objectives of the capital punishment is to deter criminals from committing of delinquencies. However, aggressive actions cannot bring peace and make offenders follow and respect the law. It is the other way around as people break the law when they are labeled as criminals and have nothing to lose. The life of a human should receive the highest priority. Changing attitudes towards some social or religious group may contribute to the solution of the crime problems more than the implementation of the capital punishment. The recent researches point out that the capital punishment does not deter crime in a more significant way than the life imprisonment. The key point is that the crime rate is almost the same in the states with the death penalty and in those that do not have penalty laws or have the moratorium. The abolishing of the capital punishment should stop the cycle of aggressiveness and violence.

In conclusion, it should be stated that social prognoses and stereotyping affect the personality in an impressive way. Bias based on racial, religious, or social differences consequently lead to possible aggressive and deviant behavior. Labeling people can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy; and then the question arises, if society treats certain individuals based on stereotyping, the chances of these unfairly treated people are great to follow these patterns as the result is forecasted in advance.


Farrington, D., & Murray, J. (2014). Labeling theory: Empirical tests (Vol. 18). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Lilly, R., Ball, R., & Cullen, F. (2015). Criminological theory: Context and consequences (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Vito, G., & Maahs, J. (2012). Criminology: Theory, research, and policy (3d ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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DemoEssays. "The Problem of the Death Penalty." December 24, 2022.