May 7, 2007
Capital punishment has been used since the beginning of man to punish people that have committed the most heinous crimes. All countries around the world, view capital punishment as a way to give criminals what they deserve and to rid the world of the people who will do nothing else but murder. The baffling protests against this ‘inhumane’ act started in America in the late twentieth century. People for some reason starting arguing and passing laws on how ruthless criminals could be punished and sentenced to death. The strange thing about this is that caring people are trying to abolish the death penalty when in return if the murderers were sent free they would kill the very same people who are passing these laws without hesitation.
The sentencing of death really wasn’t a popular act until the just after the middle Ages. ”England had mandated 14 offenses to be punishable by death, while the newly founded American colonies imposed the death penalty for far fewer crimes. Captain George Kendall in Jamestown, Virginia became the first recorded execution in the new colonies for the crime of espionage in 1608.” The first known opposition towards capital punishment was in 1767. “Cesare Beccaria’s essay on Crimes and Punishment proposed that it is not necessary or just to punish by death. He favors life imprisonment and states, perpetual slavery. This is all that is necessary to deter the most hardened and determined criminals from committing crimes.” If I was going to commit a crime and new I was only going to spend life in prison for it, I would think I would be more likely to commit that crime than if I new if I committed it I was going to die for what I had done. It used to be that all death sentences had to be performed outside city hall for the entire public to see. “In 1834, public display of hangings was abolished and the state required each county to conduct private hangings in jail.” I think this was a smart idea to get the pictures out of the average persons head, but then again you would not have to watch if you did not want to. In many countries for hundreds of year’s public execution has been a way of life. People actually looked forward to that ‘every first Tuesday of the month’ to watch the next set of executions take place on the courthouse lawn.
In the twentieth century large abolitionists groups had started up to abolish the death penalty from the United States because of the inhumanity of the act. “In 1907, the abolitionist movement leads Kansas to abolish the death penalty. Eight other states either abolished or severely limited capital punishment. Over the next ten year however all but two states had reinstated the death penalty because of criminal build up in jails.” One of the biggest problems we face today in the criminal world is not enough jail or prison space to hold the amount of prisoners we have. This leads to more lineate judges in making decisions. “In the 1930’s executions reached an all time high executing almost 2000 prisoners a year.” By this time in American culture there was a new ‘more humane’ type of execution known as the electric chair. For almost a decade people thought this was the best form of execution until jail wardens let the public into the watching rooms to view what was going on. This lead to the first time in history the government as a hole was being forced to make a decision. The decision made was against everything the movement was fighting for. “In 1955, the house of representatives voted 297 – 132 to limit inmate appeals for the death penalty to one year in state cases because of the high crime rate bogging down judges.” This law meant that after one year of appealing for your life against the sentencing you had been given, you were out of hope to change the verdict you had been given. Throughout the years the movement pushes on trying to get laws passed to stop the death penalty. “Governor...