The Cost of Justice: Capital Punishment

Topics: Death Penalty, Murder, Prison Pages: 8 (2830 words) Published: November 16, 2010
Stephen Daudell
English 161
William Ford
Research Final Draft

“The Cost of Justice”

Capital punishment or the death penalty is defined as the execution of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense. Throughout the world, capital punishment is widely used as a means of justice for those who have committed capital offenses. The conflicting premise of this issue is whether or not it is justified to correct one wrong with another. For example, is it truly moral to punish one who takes a life, by taking that individual’s life as well? It can also be argued that allowing the death penalty to take place just stimulates a culture of violence by asserting that killing is an acceptable solution to a problem. First of all, the most absolute position on this issue are those who are completely in favor of the death penalty for all capital offenses, since it can offer justice and peace of mind to the victim’s family and friends. Next, there are certain groups of people who believe the death penalty is effective, but that it may not necessarily apply to all offenders, such as in the case of the mentally ill. Additionally, other people may be for the most part against the death penalty, but think it is justified in situations of DNA proof, multiple counts of homicide, or where murder was completely intentional. Lastly, there are those who are absolutely against the death penalty in every way and any situation, since it violates the offenders natural right to life. One of the real questions that needs answering is, does the death penalty effectively deter murder?

People who are against the death penalty believe that two wrongs don’t make a right and by killing these people, we are stooping to their level and no better than they are. They believe that criminals are being taught no lesson when it becomes acceptable for the government to do the very thing that they are being punished for. People also think that a lifetime in prison is a worse punishment than a quick and easy death. In prison, criminals are forced to live in a jail cell knowing that they will never again enjoy the freedoms and pleasures of the rest of the world. In addition to these two somewhat extreme positions, there are some positions in between that use some aspects of both positions. Some people are mostly in favor of the death penalty, except in cases where the person accused isn’t of full mental capacity or in certain rape cases. There are also people who are, for the most part, against the death penalty except in extreme cases such as multiple murders. This paper will investigate the motives of the different groups of people who support the death penalty, oppose the death penalty, those who allow exceptions to using it, and those who allow exceptions to denying capital punishment.

There are multiple forms of capital punishment used all around the world. One of these forms is beheading, or chopping the criminal’s head off. This is only used in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Other methods not used in the United States include hanging, poison gas and stoning (being pelted and/or buried with rocks until dead). Firing squads, in which multiple gunmen shoot the criminal, are not used in the United States with the exception of Utah. The electric chair is a method used in only the United States, however it is not as popular as lethal injection. Lethal injection is a process that typically involves injecting three different substances into the body while the person is strapped to a table. The first drug, sodium thiopental, induces unconsciousness and, properly administered, prevents the individual from feeling any pain; the second drug, pancuronium bromide, stops muscle movement and breathing; and the final drug, potassium chloride, induces cardiac arrest. (Baze vs. Rees).

The history of the death penalty in America goes all the way back to 1622 when Daniel Frank was the first person legally executed in Virginia because he was caught...
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