Capital Punishment is defined as the legal infliction of the death penalty by the federal system or by the state. Also known as the death penalty, this sentencing is the most severe form of corporal punishment as it is irreversible and everlasting. We have all heard of the famous lex talionis of "an eye for an eye" in the Old Testament of the Bible. The view of proponents of the death penalty in reference to the "let the punishment fit the crime" ideal is that, in the eyes of many law officials and citizens of the United States. If a crime is so serious that it causes irreversible damage or the loss of human life, then the only penalty for such crimes would be death for the individual that committed this act. Today, there is a big controversy over capital punishment whether or not it works, or if it is morally right. We have a certain privilege on our own lives, but do the lives of others belong to us as well? Do we have the right to decide the kind of lives others can or cannot live? Anyone at anytime could be affected by capital punishment, whether it be through a family member, peer, co-worker, loved one, or even themselves.
History of the Death Penalty
Widely applied in ancient times, the death penalty can be found in the Code of Hammurabi, which was written before the birth of Christ. From the fall of Rome to the beginnings of the modern era, the death penalty was practiced throughout Western Europe. The modern movement for the abolition of capital punishment began in the eighteenth century with the writings of Montesquieu and Voltaire. It has already been abolished in 65 countries, including Venezuela and Costa Rica. The United States and China are claimed to use the death penalty most frequently. Since the 1970s almost all capital sentences in the United States have been imposed for homicide. There has been intense debate regarding the constitutionality, consequences, and humanity of capital punishment (Draper, 1985: 10-12).