Every action we take is done because we expect it to have some kind of benefit, correct? Since if there is no benefit, it would be a waste of time. Im sure most would agree with that statement. So obviously any action we take against any criminal is supposed to have a positive influence on our society. Yet the death penalty itself does not have any beneficial qualities in itself. What good is a dead man to society? Some claim it helps the victims family get over the death of their loved one. Killing someone wont bring back there loved one so that statement has no real basis to it. There is no way it could ease their pain. And what about the family of the criminal? Why make them suffer also?
If I remember correctly, the branch of the government that handles criminals and prisons is called Correction and Rehabilitation. Not Punishment and Revenge. My point being any actions we execute regarding criminals need not be punishment or payback but instead of a nature that will influence positive change in that man. So one day if he is capable of being released, he will return to society as an upstanding citizen. Similarly, I ask how can we really change a man for the better by silencing him forever?
Some argue that the death penalty does in fact have a positive influence on our society because it acts as deterrent that will scare citizens from committing crimes that could lead to the death penalty. That claim is absurd in many ways. Statistically (http://www.fdp.dk/uk/exec/index.htm) that is way off since the number of executions over the past few decades have dramatically gone up. As long as the death penalty has been around, the number of murders in our country has gone up. Besides fear is never a way to try and influence the masses. That is a tactic used by all of historys tyrants and dictators from Stalin to the Church itself. Considering human nature, when confronted with fear of the death penalty, rather then simply stop, criminals would just become smarter and better at avoiding authorities as they commit even more heinous crimes.
Another argument is that prisons are overpopulated and that without capital punishment the overpopulations problems would be even worse. This statement is misleading. Yes, prisons in the US are overpopulated but a fact they tend to avoid is that there are not enough criminals executed every year to make any significant difference.
Besides, even if it did help solve the overpopulation problem in prisons, that would be a completely immoral solution. Hitler killed the Jews because he hated them. The argument above says its OK to kill people because they become a nuisance. Which is a lazy, immoral, and uncompassionate way to deal with those who have failed to rise to societys expectations
Capital punishment for one is simply hypocritical. Our solution to homicide is homicide itself? Honestly, can fire really fight fire? This eye for an eye philosophy has never really been able to hold ground.
I hear Capital Punishment supporters often say about criminals on death row, They are paying their debt to society. What is it that actually can be gained from the death itself? Obviously nothing. But if there is any debt here, the people of the nation owe the poor criminal their compassion, patience, and understanding. The government itself more then anything owes the criminal correction and rehabilitation. The death penalty unfairly targets the poor and less fortunate. For many, the government has not done its job in helping its own people. All their lives they have lived in horrible conditions because of neglect from their own country. So who really has the right to judge any of these men when we know if we had been in the same situation we too probably would have resorted to anger, hate, and violence. Most of the people who support Capital Punishment are not the ones who are living on welfare or dont know when their next meal will be. Hunger is a force that will drive any man to kill if it becomes that extreme.
Capital Punishment supporters claim that the Death Penalty is no different than a man killing in self-defense, a police officer killing an armed criminal, or a soldier killing in war. In my opinion, there is a great difference there. The three examples given above our situations where the danger posed by the criminal is in the present moment. At any given moment the criminal could still harm someone. So it is justified there. But when a criminal is locked up for life, he can no longer harm anyone else so the need for his death is then gone.