Capital Punishment

Powerful Essays
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” – Mahatma Gandhi. For many centuries there have been several debates at various levels of society regarding the moral authority of the state to execute a member of that society under prescribed conditions. The ethical dilemma involved, seeks to unearth whether it is ever morally correct to deprive a human being of life. There are several aspect of capital punishment that has changed throughout history, including the popularity of the death penalty, the type of crimes punishable by death and the method of execution.
Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for a particular crime/s—known as capital crimes. These capital crimes include murder, treason, rape and some types of fraudulent engagements. The death penalty when meted out according to law is not considered murder; in fact a murder is the intentional unauthorized taking of a human life – bearing in mind that only the state can grant any such approval . There are several methods of execution, including: decapitation, the gas chamber, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, the firing squad or other sorts of shooting.
The death penalty was historically misused, meted out for minor crimes, and in cases used to suppress political dissent and religious minorities. Such misuse of the death penalty greatly declined in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and today it has been abolished in many countries, particularly in Europe and Latin America. According to Amnesty International (an international non-government organization which focuses on human rights) as at May 2012, one hundred and forty one countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or in practice. In most countries where it is retained, it is reserved as a punishment for only the most serious crimes such as but limited to: premeditated murder, espionage, treason, and in some countries, drug trafficking. In some



References: 1. Harriott A., Brathwaite F., Wortley S. (2004), Crime and Criminal Justice in the Caribbean, Arawak Publications. 2. Harriott, A. (2000) Police and Crime Control in Jamaica-Problems of Reforming Ex-Colonial Constabularies, The University of the West Indies Press. 3. Sir Phillips, Fred (2009), The Death Penalty and Human Rights, The Caribbean Law Publishing Company, Jamaica. 4. Headly, B. (2002), A Spade is Still a Spade: Essays on Crime and The Politics of Jamaica, LMH Publishing Company. 5. Clark, D, Rakestraw, R, (2008), Readings in Christian Ethics, Volume 2, Baker Academic 6 9. Amnesty-calls-on Florida-to-halt-execution-of Jamaican-man. Retrieved March 10, 2013 from, http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/ 10 11. The Price of Freedom: What Happens to the Wrongfully Convicted? Retrieved March 11, 2013 from, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2012/05/01/the-price-of-freedom-what-happens-to-the-wrongfully-convicted/ 12 13. Geisler, N.L. (1989), Christian Ethics: Option and Issues, 193-214, Baker Academic, 2 Edition 14 15. Kessler, G. ed. Voices of Wisdom: A Multicultural Philosophy Reader, "The Death Penalty", Second Edition, Belmont: Wadsworth, 1995. 16. Encyclopaedia Britannica, volume 16, "Crime and Punishment", pages 812-813, 15th Edition, 1989 17 18. Capital punishment from a national and biblical perspective. Retrieved March 13, 2013 from, http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Capital-punishment-from-a-national-and-biblical-perspective_12728162

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