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Capital Punishment

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Title: The Impact of the Execution of Death Row Inmates on the Families of the Victims and the Families of the Defendants.

Thesis: The death of a Death Row inmate has profound, and in some cases very similar, psychological effects on both the defendants own families and the families of the murder victims, showing that far from healing wounds and giving closure, capital punishment actually creates more grieving and trauma for everyone involved.

Capital punishment is the harshest punishment that any court of law can administer to a convicted prisoner, as the offender is sentenced to death. This state sanctioned decision to end someone’s life is unique in its severity and finality and the repercussions on all those involved are immense. When anyone close to us dies, most people experience grief, which is universal but in the case of deaths as a result of the death penalty, the impact on the grieving process is both exaggerated and distorted for everyone involved.

II. Background on Capital Punishment
The first recorded death penalty laws were recorded in the Eighteenth Century BC in Babylon. In ancient Greece the death penalty was applied for the crimes of murder, treason, rape and arson and the Romans also applied capital punishment for a number of crimes. Various means of death used included crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. By the Tenth Century BC Capital Punishment by hanging became the normal method of applying the death penalty in Great Britain. Although the death penalty was briefly banned in Britain during the reign of William the Conqueror, this did not last and by the Eighteenth Century over 222 crimes were punishable by the death penalty including stealing rabbits (5). This led to jury’s finding the prisoners not guilty as the punishment far outweighed the crime. When the first settlers landed in America, they brought with them the tradition of capital punishment and in the uncertain and brutal...