October 25, 2019 in Research
Capital Punishment

The humanity has developed a well-elaborated system of punishment and discipline to maintain law and order in the society. The kinds of punishment range from the deprivation of property and fines up to solitary confinement and death row depending on the severity of the crime committed. Capital punishment is the most severe way to eliminate the criminal cases and to maintain order in the modern world. This means of punishment is applied in the cases when the guilty is proven and the crime committed is severe enough not to allow a person to be the member of the society. Many states have already refused from this cruel punishment having substituted it with the life imprisonment; however, some states still use this way of punishment. There are two main methods of execution, lethal injection and the electric chair. Being a serious violation of human rights, death row evokes serious disputes worldwide dividing the mankind into two groups, the advocates of capital punishment and their opponents. On one hand, the elimination of murders is a reasonable approach to make this world a safer and more a comfortable place to live in. On the other hand, seeing the statistics with new murders reported daily, it becomes obvious that the current system of punishment is not sufficient enough to prevent the violence in the society. Besides, death penalty compromises the ethics and morality of the communities, where it is sentenced. Death penalty is an ineffective, unethical and wicked means of punishment and cannot maintain law and order in the modern society. 

Capital punishment shows itself as an ineffective means for maintaining law and order in the society because the number of the crimes has not reduced even though the cases of executions significantly increased since 1974. Having considered the statistics from the death penalty Information Center, 1,246 people were subjected to the death penalty from 1976 till April, 2011. Significantly, there were no cases of execution in 1976, 1978, and 1980, while the greatest number of capital punishments (98 cases) was observed in 1999. Another statistics shows that “the U.S. prison population grew by more than half a million during the 1990s and continued to grow, although more slowly, in the next decade”. Having compared the statistical data it is obvious that the number of capital punishment executions does not help to reduce the criminal cases. Committing crimes people are sentenced to death, but it is not the way to maintain an order. People still continue committing the crimes and they are put to the prison, the death penalty as a final punishment is not considered as a serious preventive measure to their actions. Looking at the death penalty as one of the means to reduce the number of crimes in the society, it is considered as ineffective and unnecessary measure, which leads to the increase of inhuman acts and can lead to morality violation of people. 

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Death penalty in an unethical issue as it violates the moral rules of a human being, his/her right for liberty, equality, and the basic right to life. Specifically, capital punishment devalues the sanctity of a human life and compromises human dignity. According to the 3rd Article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Capital punishment violates these rights since imposing one to death, authorities make a decision whether a person should live or not. Life is an issue which cannot be sacrificed. Modern system of execution shows itself as prejudiced and discriminating showing higher rates of Black people and Latinos sentenced to death in comparison to white people. Violation of ethics and morals make capital punishment even more debatable and less appropriated in the modern civilized world that is inhabited with highly emotionally intelligent individuals. Punishment should implement justice and it is impossible to achieve it by means of killing someone. Modern vision of morality and human virtue does not consider murder as a just and ethical behavior no matter who commits its. A murder on the street and a murder in a prison are murders, which violate human right to life and are considered as unethical issue, which should be eliminated.

Capital punishment is a wicked means to discipline the society since this means of penalty is considered as a part of revenge, which is not a way to maintain justice. Trying to understand the reasons of imposing the capital punishment in the society, the principle of “an eye to an eye” seems to be the only adequate explanation, which is actually revenge. However, justice has nothing in common with revenge. Justified killing cultivates the idea that a murder can be acceptable under certain conditions (cause-effect relations). Instead, people should develop the common culture in which killing the murderer is inappropriate because it increases the level of violence in the entire society. Besides, capital punishment may encourage offenders’ relatives to revenge their death or continue their lethal heritage, which is another factor that adds violence. In this way, the death row brings more grief and isolation than moral satisfaction. Therefore, any punishment should be considered as a way to make a person understand his/her faults and to correct one’s behavior, but death penalty imposes an idea of revenge in the punishment, therefore, it is considered as a wicked means to maintain law and order in the community.

However, there is an opinion that capital punishment should be justified. According to Kant, justice is an absolute notion and the punishment should be the goal, not the correction of one’s behavior. The main idea Kant imposes in his writing is that people who have committed the crime should be punished in the same way they have acted. Therefore, those who killed someone should be killed as well to maintain justice in the society and to make people treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. According to Kant, such means of justice implementation can lead to the reduction of crimes in the state and cal lead to legal society. This idea corresponds with the retributive approach of punishment, which presumes that the purpose to punish the guilty ones is itself sufficient enough to be the reason of punishment. It is necessary to mention that this perspective of the penal system is powerful and reasonable for many individuals. People believe that they have the right to revenge. This apprehension is adopted by a considerable part of humanity and, thus, it cannot be neglected. Therefore, capital punishment exists in the contemporary world. Therefore, in case of especially severe crimes the death penalty is considered to be more humane than its alternative, solitary confinement, since it is the only way to maintain justice for the specific case. 

The above-stated rationales used by the advocates of the capital punishment are reasonable; however, can be refuted with the following counterarguments. Firstly, life imprisonment is a severe punishment, but it does not violate human right to life. Even if a significant part of the solitary confinement inmates prefer death over life, the main part of them chooses life and natural death. Moreover, many individuals are against revenge and retributive punishment. National Catholic Reporter claims that a lot of mothers whose children were killed do not want the criminals to be sentenced to death. They realize that the offenders have families who do not deserve suffering from losing their dear ones. Consequently, the arguments of the supporters of the death penalty are partially applicable and relevant, but not sufficient enough to consider capital punishment as the only valid solution in terms of severe crime sentences. 

In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasize that capital punishment should be banned because it is ineffective, unethical and wicked measure, which does not help reduce the crimes and does not impose law and order in the society. Capital punishment is characterized by the minimal effectiveness, failure to meet the standards of ethics and harmful outcomes for the communities in which it is sentences. Moreover, it does not appropriately serve to maintain the useful and revengeful approaches of punishment. In particular, in terms of instilling the proper behavioral patterns, death penal is ineffective because it does not correct human behavior, it does not teach the proper means of acting, it simply kills people without giving them an opportunity to atone their mistake. Similarly, from the perspective of the retributive approach, not all people desire revenge or believe that to kill a murderer is the correct way to maintain justice. Consequently, capital punishment does not fully meet any of these above-discussed approaches. Therefore, capital punishment should be considered as an ineffective, unethical and wicked means to discipline the society, which does not bring any benefit to the society.


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