Death Penalty

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Carolyn Fouts
Enc 1101
August 7, 2011

Death Penalty Controversies
The death penalty, also known as form of capital punishment has been extremely controversial for many of years. The philosophical and moral arguments for or against the death penalty have remained remarkably unchanged since the beginning of the debate. This issue continuously creates tension in today’s society whether it serves as a justified or valid form of punishment. Regardless, there are always going to be two disputable sides to this argument that are not going to be settled. Crime is an apparent part of society, and every body is aware that something must be done about it. Ancient history dates that the death penalty was widely used, especially by the Babylonians and the Romans. Although in today’s society the death penalty is frowned upon in several different countries. In my personal opinion I believe that the death penalty should be completely abolished. All it is doing is causing more controversies between the United States and other countries, as well as wasting countless amounts of money.

There are innumerable debates of the morals and effectiveness of the death penalty being such a harsh punishment. This is most commonly challenged as a violation of the eighth amendment. The eighth amendment stated that the United States could not use “cruel and unusual” punishment. The death penalty is considered a form of punishment, although it is not unusual because it its long history of being utilized. Even though it is cruel, it is necessary for someone that would commit such ruthless crimes. It portrays and helps demonstrate that criminals cannot get away with their crime, also an attempt to prevent the next criminal from making another unnecessary crime.

Even though the death penalty is looked down upon now days it was widely used in the ancient world. In the 18th century BC, the Babylonians would give people the sentence for about twenty-five different crimes, not only murder. Even the ancient democracy of Athens relied heavily on capital punishment in their legal code (Reggio). As well as Roman law, which is well known for its executions, using various methods, including crucifixion. The death penalty was extremely popular during ancient times, but has progressively become less desired as people came to realize that it was the ultimate denial of human rights. Most industrialized nations have severely restricted or completely banned the practice of the death penalty, except the United States who continues to use capital punishment. Each year additional countries decide to abolish capital punishment making it become a worldwide trend.

Some statistics show that since 1976, fewer than two hundred of more that twenty-five hundred people on death row have been executed.  Some say that more than twenty thousand murders that take place each year could have been prevented if criminals believed they would be executed for their crimes (Bedau 1992). Murders do not only affect one person, but can be considered threatening to the whole society. The death penalty is a sense of reassurance that that the criminal will not be able to kill again. Life imprisonment does not grantee this because criminals can still be released on parole or escape from prison, giving them opportunities to murder again. (Radelet, Borg;46)

There are also many arguments going against the death penalty. Many people believe that two wrongs do not make a right. Just because someone committed a murder does not mean they should get their life taken away as well. Most crimes are committed just in the spur of the moment, and a lot of the time the murder tends to usually be either under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, most murderers do not think about their wrongful actions or their future consequences. In the United States, states that still have the death penalty laws do not have lower crime rate or murder rate than states without...
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