Death penalty, also called capital punishment, is when a government or state executes (kills) someone, usually because he or she has done a serious crime, such as murder. The death penalty is a disputed and controversial topic.
Supporters of the death penalty: Some people think it is right for governments to kill criminals. They say that this punishes the criminal for their crime, or that it will stop other people from committing serious crimes. People who are against the death penalty: Other people think that it is wrong for governments to kill people. There is the danger that an innocent person will be killed. Also, poor people and minorities are more likely to be executed in countries with the death penalty. People who are against the death penalty may protest outside prisons where criminals are being executed. There is an example of an innocent person named Anthony Porter. Anthony was made to wait for sixteen years in prison waiting for his death. After sixteen years, people found out that Anthony Porter was innocent. About one third of the countries in the world have laws that allow the death penalty. The United States, The People's Republic of China, Japan and Iran are examples of countries that have a death penalty. Canada, Australia, Mexico and all members of Council of Europe are examples of countries that have abolished the death penalty. Over half the countries in the world have gotten rid of the death penalty in law and practice: 75 countries have gotten rid of the capital punishment for all crimes and another 20 can be considered abolitionist in practice. The latter retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more. Most of the countries that have a death penalty use it on murderers, and for other serious crimes such as rape or terrorism. Other countries especially ones with Authoritarian or Totalitarian governments, however, also use it for smaller crimes like theft, or for saying bad things...
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