At the end of the 18th Century, efforts to abolish the death penalty gained momentum. This reform was lead by the Quakers. In the 1400's, English law recognised seven major crimes; Treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape and arson. Methods of punishment were; Crucifixion, burning in oil, drawing and quartering, impalement, beheading, burning alive, crushing, tearing asunder, stoning and drowning. The death penalty in the UK was finally abolished in November 1965.
Although, the death penalty was never abolished in the USA and now the death penalty is currently authorised in five ways; hanging, electrocution, the gas chamber, firing squad or lethal injection
The fundamental questions raised by the death penalty is whether or not it is an effective deterrent to violent crimes and whether it is more effective than the alternative of a long term imprisonment.
People against the death penalty argue that it can be used in a prejudicial way, because more black people are executed than white people. Also, adjacent states in which one has the death penalty and the other does not, show no significant long term difference in the murder rate, and, states that's abolish and then re-introduce the death penalty do not seem to show any significant change in the murder rate.
Critics of the death penalty have always pointed to the risk of executing the innocent, although, definitely established cases...