Did Abraham Lincoln Free The Slaves? Is capital punishment wrong? In my opinion capital punishment is wrong. The death penalty is the center of much debate in society. This is due, in part, to the fact that people see only the act of killing a criminal, and not the social effects the death penalty has on society as a whole. Upon reading about the death penalty, it was found to be an unethical practice. It promotes a violent and inhumane society in which killing is considered okay.
Since there are alternatives, the death penalty should be abolished. Some people believe capital punishment to be cruel and unusual. Others believe that a person who kills, should themselves be killed. This statement alone raises the question, How should they be killed? The question that should really be asked is, Should we kill at all? Would it be morally correct to kill someone just because they have killed someone else? In 1972, capital punishment (in any form) was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision was reversed in 1976, when new methods of execution were introduced. These new methods included death by lethal injection.
Does this mean that it is okay to kill as long as we use a method that is not considered cruel or unusual by society? The death penalty is considered the harshest form of punishment enforced today. Once a jury has convicted a criminal, they go to the second part of the trial, the punishment phase. If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees that this punishment is deserving of the crime, the criminal will face some form of execution. Contrary to popular belief, the electric chair is not the most common way of executing somebody. Death by lethal injection accounts for the majority of the executions today.
Among the arguments employed have been deterrence, cost, retribution, rehabilitation, uncertainty, social defense, and whether or not punishment by death is cruel and unusual. Retribution is a popular term when discussing the death penalty. This is a term which brings both sides of the death penalty argument together. Both the retentionists and the abolitionists agree that the notion of imposing the death penalty because the wrongdoer deserves it leaves an uneasy feeling with lawmakers and community leaders. This creates an image in society where a punishment is based on what a jury feels a criminal deserves as opposed to what is best for society.
Retribution plays an important role for the friends and families of murder victims. They want the murderer to lose his/her life just as he/she took the life of someone they loved. Unfortunately, this is not always the best solution. If the crime was committed in the heat of the moment, perhaps due a momentary lapse of insanity, then there is a likely chance that the criminal can be rehabilitated. Why waste a life? Appeal trials leads to the next issue surrounding the death penalty, uncertainty.
Putting a convicted criminal in jail is not a permanent action. They can always be set free if they are later found to be innocent. However, when a convicted criminal is killed, it is very unlikely that they will be able to be brought back if they are later found to be innocent. This bothers the legal community, as well as the families of the accused. When discussing whether or not a punishment fits a given crime, one must look at the punishment’s effects not only on the criminal, but also society as a whole.
Many studies on the effects of the death penalty have shown that capital punishment creates a false sense of security within a community. People feel better knowing that the death penalty is always an option for a severe crime, whether or not the punishment is actually used. The principles of retribution suggest that a murderer should be executed because he or she deserves or has earned the sentence of death. Those who base their opposition to the death penalty on moral grounds argue that life is sacred and killing is always wrong, whether it is done by an individual or by the state. In addition, people have questioned whether we as individuals or as a society have the right to decide that another person must die.
Speaking of justice being served, what happens when our justice system makes a mistake? One can hardly think of a worse fate than to be convicted of a crime on did not commit; therefore, it is not surprising that many abolitionists report that the risk of executing an innocent person influenced their position. A more extremist point of view on the death penalty deals with absolute nonviolence in society. It is based on the belief that the sanctity of human life demands absolute nonviolence. On this view, killing of any kind, for any reason, is always and everywhere morally wrong. The obvious alternative to capital punishment is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This solution, however, leads to the argument that society is still supporting them while in prison. The family of the murder victim is still paying taxes, which in turn help pay for the food and shelter that the murderer is receiving at no cost. Is this the next-best solution if putting a criminal to death costs society more than keeping then in prison for life? Unfortunately, this is probably not the best solution due to jails that are currently overflowing with inmates and the lack of funding for new jails. There is also a lack of community support for new jails. Who wants a bunch of convicted criminals living in a jail their neighborhood? If keeping them locked up forever is not a viable solution, what about placing criminals in rehabilitation programs? This is a viable solution, but not always guaranteed to work.
If a criminal is found to be legally insane, who pays for their rehabilitation? Again, the taxpayers end up paying for medication, doctors, food, clothing, and shelter. What would happen if a criminal, who was released as fully rehabilitated, killed again? The entire legal system would come under fire! Unfortunately, throwing criminals in a jail cell and completely forgetting about them (permanent solitary confinement for the extent of a criminal’s sentence) is considered cruel and unusual punishment. I have concluded that the death penalty is, in itself, not ethical. There is absolutely no way a judge or jury can be sure that the right person is being sentenced to their death, unless a confession is presented. Even if a confession is presented, it is not morally right to kill another person because they have once killed.
This is not to say that I am totally against killing in society. If one must kill another person in order to protect him/herself, then I feel that killing in self-defense is justified. Killing a criminal because someone decided that they deserve to die is not justified. If a criminal is convicted of murder (and would normally be sentenced to death), I believe that they should be locked up in prison for the rest of their natural life. Killing a criminal will only create more violence in society. With more violence comes more crime, which leads to more criminal convictions, and the whole process repeats itself.
The death penalty is unethical and should be abolished. History Essays.