Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Essay on Should Capital Punishment be Abolished?

Essay on Should Capital Punishment be Abolished?

Should Capital Punishment be Abolished
Whenever the word 'death penalty' comes up, extremists from both sides of the spectrum begin to wildly express their opinions. One side says deterrence, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man. One says justice, retribution and punishment, the other side says execution is murder. However, all arguments aside, the best way and the only way to truly make a rational decision about capital punishment is to examine the purpose of our criminal justice system. 

Once the purpose of the criminal justice system is established, one must find out the purpose punishment. The first question of capital that must be faced is 'what is the purpose of the criminal justice system and does the death penalty help to fulfill that purpose? An expert says that humans have inalienable rights that existed outside of and before government. These rights are life, liberty and property. He contends that the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect these rights. When one person infringes on another's rights or takes advantage of another person, he is plundering. He also asks, "When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor. It is evident, then that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." 

People will plunder, take advantage of others and commit crimes as long as it is in their best interest to do so. The purpose of the entire criminal justice system is to protect the rights of life, liberty and property for all its citizens. To do this, the criminal justice system needs to make 'plunder more painful and more dangerous than labor. In other words, the punishment for crime must be harsh enough to deter potential criminals. Under this mindset, the death penalty makes perfect sense. Here is a punishment that truly makes the criminal pay for his crime, stops the criminal from committing future crimes and deters other criminals from committing the same crime. 

If the purpose of the death penalty is to protect the lives of people, then the people that it is supposed to protect should be the focal point. In considering the death penalty and its merits and faults one cannot lose sight of the victims. These corpses are the people who have been, are being and will be killed because the justice system is not working perfectly. In considering the death penalty these innocent individuals must never be forgotten. Millions of innocent men and women have already been slain and thousands are killed every year. In any discussion of the death penalty, one must remember that there are two sets of lives to be considered. Far too much emphasis is usually placed on the convicted murderer who is being executed and the victim who has been killed is all but forgotten. Someone once stated, 'One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are statistics'. 

Once a murderer is caught and convicted, justice seems to demand that he at least be prevented from murdering someone else. After all, if the law is set up to protect our right to live, it seems as though it should be able to keep convicted murderers from murdering again. 

One example of the benefit of the death penalty is what happened in India in the 1800s. When Great Britain was beginning to colonize India, there was a religion known as the Thuggee religion. These Thugs were probably the most violent, dangerous and brutal gang of thieves ever. They killed literally thousands of people (mostly foreigners) and stole their money. 

In fact, one of the requirements of this cult was that each member had to murder at least one person every year. The British jumped to action to curb the problem by speedy arrests and executions. Thousands of Thugs were executed. After a few years, the leader of the Thugs was captured and executed. During his trial, it was found that, he had murdered 931 people. 

In 1883, the British had completely solved the problem by executing the last known Thugs. Often opponents will argue that some criminals are so deranged, so fearless, so assured that they will not be caught that they will murder no matter what the penalty is. If this was true of anyone, it was true of the Thugs. Yet, the fact is often ignored that the death penalty can have a tremendous effect simply by eliminating those hideous murderers who will murder no matter what the penalty is. No one can count the number of lives that were saved after all the Thugs were executed. 

Opponents of the death penalty sometimes contend that repeat murderers are rare. Yet, if six per cent of all murders can be stopped and forty-five lives can be saved every year just in North Carolina alone, who wants to be responsible for the forty-five unnecessary deaths that occur each year because the government does not take care of the murderers the first time around? 

Although the death penalty is a deterrent, it is not nearly as strong a deterrent as it would be where it implemented more often. The deterrence theory states that in order for a crime to be deterred, justice must be swift, severe and certain. With numerous appeals, the death penalty is not swift. 

In fact, most murderers can rest assured that more than likely they will not be put to death. The death penalty is severe. If it were altered so that it became swift and certain, there would be a significant drop-off in the homicide rate. People have a natural fear of death. It is a common trait of man that we think about the consequences before we act. If not consciously, we still think about them subconsciously. 

Imagine for a minute what the world would be like if every time a murderer killed someone, he died instantaneously. More than likely, there would be an extremely low homicide rate. Of course, it is impossible to make that a reality, but the government can make justice much more swift, severe and certain than it already is if we simply increase the use of capital punishment and change the laws so that it is faster and has a shorter appeals process. The death penalty is important because the lives of thousands of potential victims are at stake.

Given the benefits of capital punishment, it is hard to imagine why anyone would be against it, but there are several arguments against the death sentence that need to be addressed. Opponents of the death penalty point out that there is a Possibility of wrongly executing an innocent man. Of course, there is a possibility of wrongly sending an innocent man to prison or wrongly fining an innocent man, but they contend that because of the finality and severity of the death penalty, the consequences of wrongly executing an innocent person are much more unjust. 

Another point to be made is that our judicial system takes many precautions to ensure that the rights of the innocent are protected. In order to understand this, one must look at the complex process required to convict someone of first-degree murder and get him sentenced to death. Although it is very unlikely that an innocent person would be executed, the question arises whether the execution of an innocent man is a strong enough argument to abolish the death penalty. Before deciding, one must remember the lives that the death penalty saves. 

Repeat murderers are eliminated and potential murderers are deterred. As mentioned earlier, one must consider the victims as well as the defendant. Is it worth it to lose forty-five innocent lives so that no innocent person is executed? 

Risking the possibility that someone might be wrongly executed is worth it to save the lives of thousands of innocent people who might be the next victims of murder. 

The benefits of the death penalty will never be wholly realized unless it is carried out in a regular, consistent manner. Thus, on the consideration of these points, there are several problems with the death penalty as it is presently being implemented. The first problem with the deaths penalty is that second-degree murder isn't being punished adequately. Second-degree murder is murder. 

It means that a criminal unlawfully, intentionally killed another person without reason, excuse or provocation. Yet, right now, second-degree murder is a crime punishable by fifteen years in prison. If there are significant mitigating circumstances, the murderer could be sentenced to even less time, not to mention the fact that most criminals do not serve their full sentence anyway.

A criminal justice system that allows convicted murderers out of prison after a few years does not stop repeat offenders and does not deter potential murderers from committing the same crime. Murder is classified into two degrees, yet it is essentially the same crime. The only difference between first and second-degree murder is that under first-degree murder, the prosecution must prove premeditation and deliberation. 

Murder for first and second degree is unlawfully killing another human being with malice. If a murderer intends to kill someone, then kills him, it is hard for one to understand how premeditation and deliberation makes the crime any worse. If a murderer did not premeditate and deliberate on his murder, is the victim any less dead? Is the one who murdered him any less guilty? 

A second problem is that first-degree murder is hard to prove. Premeditation and deliberation must be proven in order for a murder to be classified as first-degree murder. 

The death penalty is an appropriate manner of punishment and serves a definite purpose. However in order to serve its purpose it must be adjusted and made more effective and efficient There is going to have to be less time spent in court as well as less time spent in a cement cubicle. 

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