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Essay on Arguments for and Against Capital Punishment

0 September 03 2014, 18:40 in Capital Punishment Essays

Essay on Arguments for and Against Capital Punishment

The issue of capital punishment is one of the most controversial topics in the United States. It is an issue that for the longest time has been the subject of many debates. Yet, until now, the controversy has not yet been resolved. One reason for this is that the opposing camps present strong arguments that it is difficult to arrive at a conclusion that is acceptable to everybody. Thisessayseeks to discuss the different arguments in favor of and against capital punishment.

Everybody understands that punishment is an important part of the criminal justice system. The goal of punishment is to make the individuals who have been adjudged guilty of a crime accountable and responsible for the crime they have committed. It is also understood that punishments should be commensurate to the crime committed. Thus, serious crimes should be imposed serious punishments by the state after the criminal is adjudged to be guilty.

For this reason, the supporters of capital punishment believe that capital punishment is a necessary and just punishment for those who have committed heinous and violent crimes. For the supporters of capital punishment, there are certain crimes that merit the imposition of capital punishment such as those which lead to the death of innocent individuals and the manner by which the crime was committed. For these crimes, it is just to impose take the life of the person responsible for the crime.

On the other hand, the opponents of capital punishment believe that there is no crime in this world that is so grave that would warrant the imposition of capital punishment. For the opponents of capital punishment, it is an unnecessary and unjust punishment. In fact, a supreme court justice once said that the imposition of capital punishment is "troublesome to the national conscienceā€ (Fridell, 2009). They believe that there is nobody in this world that has the right to take the life of a person regardless of the crime that he has committed. In fact, one of the main arguments by the opponents of capital punishment is that it is a violation of the fundamental right to life (Hodgkinson and Schabas, 2004).

Another point of disagreement is the effect of capital punishment. The supporters of capital punishment believe that it can deter criminality. In an era where crime is rampant and violent, the supporters of capital punishment believe that it can prevent individuals who are contemplating of committing a violent crime from carrying it out. For them, capital punishment will strike fear into the hearts of would-be murderers so that they will have second thoughts in committing their crime (Fridell, 2009).

On the other hand, there are those who believe that murderers will not be deterred by capital punishment because most of the crimes happen in situations where the perpetrators do not have reasonable time and opportunity to contemplate about his actions and to think about the possible ramifications of his crime. The opponents of capital punishment have argued that the history of executions and violence have made little impact in preventing violent crimes (Hodgkinson & Schabas, 2004).

Cited Works

Fridell, R. (2009). Open for Debate. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish.

Hodgkinson and Schabas (2004). Capital Punishment: Strategies for Abolition. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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