Capital punishment, the execution of a convicted criminal, was used at some point in time by nearly all societies around the globe, both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. Today most European and Latin American states have abolished capital punishment while the United States, Guatemala, and most of the Caribbean as well as areas in Asia and Africa retain it. Of those which practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as a punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In many countries drug trafficking is also considered a capital offence.
In Singapore capital punishment is a legal form of punishment, with the highest per-capita execution rate in the world relative to its population of just over 4 million. Although precise statistics are unknown and rarely divulged it is estimated by the United Nations that over 150 prisoners have been executed since the year 2001 in Singapore alone. By imposing death sentences and carrying out high numbers of executions, Singapore is running counter to the worldwide trend towards abolition of the death penalty.
Supporters of capital punishment argue that it deters crime, and is an appropriate punishment for the crime of murder. Although, opponents argue, that it does not deter criminals, violates human rights, leads to executions of some who are wrongfully convicted, and discriminates against minorities and the poor.
As the pioneer for the abolition of capital punishment, Cesare Beccaria was very much against cruel and arbitrary punishment. His many works and theories rally the opinions and ideas of those who favour the death penalty. Beccaria felt that capital punishment, while cruel and excessive, was also an ineffective measure to reduce or punish crime. In contrast Singapore uses capital punishment as a form of crime control as it is described and attributed to the decrease in crime rates of...