November 5, 2012
Of all forms of punishment, the death penalty is by far the most controversial and also the most rarely used. Capital punishment was once almost the only penalty applied to convicted felons. By the time of the American Revolution, the English courts had defined more than 200 felonies, all of which were “capital offenses”. However, many death penalties were not carried out; instead, offenders were pardoned or banished to penal colonies. Over time, courts and legislatures began to recognize other forms of punishment, such as imprisonment and probation.
In the times of the American colonies, capital punishment was used extensively in England and in the early American colonies, as many crimes other than murder resulted in a penalty of death. Corporal punishments, often very brutal, also often resulted in death as the imposition of such torture severely injured the offender. Both torture and executions were often carried out in public, as a deterrent to others. The idea was that if others saw what the punishment was for such a crime, that perhaps the said crime would be prevented from happening altogether. Public executions, however, were ceased in 1936 when several thousand people witnessed the execution by hanging of a black man convicted of raping and murdering a white woman in Kentucky. Prisoner rights are based on a general principle that each prisoner will be deprived of liberty, but will still be entitled to basic human rights. Many advocates for prisoner rights will argue that many prisoners are deprived of the basic human rights. Many people believe that the prisoner should not be entitled to any rights and the only exception to this belief is that the prisoner may not be put to death without a fair trial (Net Industries, 2011). The most common view of society is that a prisoner is sentenced to prison as a way to pay for their crime. Prisoner rights are necessary to...
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