Name Course Tutor Date Capital punishment Introduction Capital punishment is also referred to as the death penalty. This punishment is meted out on prisoners who commit very serious crimes such as murder. Death penalty has stirred up a lot of debate with some people opposing it and others been in support of it. Most countries tend to use the option of life sentence instead of the death penalty. What if such murderers placed on life sentence broke out of prisons and went after the family of the victim?
Although innocent people have faced the death penalty, advances in technology nowadays reduce such chances and hence purposes of the death sentence are maintained. Discussion One of the benefits of the death penalty is deterrence. Punishment has always been used in order to discourage potential criminals from any activity which is unlawful. Murder is a very great crime and hence society should has the right to use very strong punishment (death penalty) to deter would be criminals. This instills a sense of fear to potential murderers. This is because all human beings fear death above everything else.
Studies and analysis conducted reveal that the death penalty can indeed deter murder. Swift and efficient punishment methods such as the death penalty are the most likely to lead to deterrence. Death penalty does not only deter potential murderers but it also deters prisoners form committing crime (Siegel 512). Arguments against the deterrent effects of the death penalty are that the studies which have been conducted are not conclusive. Studies that have been conducted reveal that the death penalty has the same deterrent effects as life imprisonment.
William Bowers who is a criminologist at Northeastern University claims that the death penalty tends to have the opposite effects. This is because society tends to feel brutalized by it and hence increasing the chances of committing murder (Siegel 514). The inconclusiveness of studies regarding the death sentence can be attributed to the fact that capital punishment is rarely used. Another thing is that if one is to be carried out it can take years before it is executed. Society does not wholly feel brutalized since the family of the victim feels that justice has been carried out
The death penalty is also a just response and punishment for the taking of life. The justice balance is disturbed when a murderer takes the life of a person. A rule of violence is encouraged if this balance is not restored. The balance can only be maintained if the murderer’s life is taken. Any lesser punishment would show that society is not serious with humanity (Siegel 513). Stating that the death penalty is a just response is like encouraging revenge. If society is to show that it is serious with humanity it should not take the life of anyone including a criminal. Revenge tends to create a chain of violent behavior.
Death penalty does not encourage revenge but rather encourages justice. The family of the victim gets to see justice meted out on a murderer who has caused them pain. The life of a criminal can not be given similar value to the life of a law abiding citizen and hence they should not be treated equally (Siegel 513). The death penalty only punishes the guilty and not innocent people. Ever since 1970, appeals and safeguards have been increased and there has been no proof whatsoever that an innocent person has been executed. DNA testing also ensures than no innocent person is executed (Siegel 514).
Capital punishment is an irrevocable form of punishment, once done, it can not be undone. There is a huge amount of evidence to show that some people have been sentenced for the death penalty wrongly. This therefore implies that the system of capital punishment is unreliable (Siegel 513). The mistakes that have been made in sentencing people to the death penalty are due to legal technicalities. Some of the factors that lead to the sentencing of innocent people to the death penalty are outside the justice system. One of the factors is that some of the witnesses lie.
Capital punishment has been made more reliable with the advent of technology such as DNA testing devices (Siegel 514). Conclusion Capital punishment has several advantages and disadvantages. This has stirred up a lot of debate on whether it should be carried out or not. The benefits of the death penalty include the deterrent effects and the fact that justice is carried out fully. Arguments against are that some innocent people have been executed while murderers walk scott free. Advances in DNA testing however make sure that such mistakes do not occur. Work cited Siegel Larry. Introduction to Criminal Justice. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008.