Head of the English Department, Mrs. Daria Sorhaindo, class teacher of form 4-C, Mrs. Sarah Douglas-Perez and my fellow classmates. My group members Jaide Phillip, Sinead Stephen, Kelly-Ann Liverpool, Maya Reid and myself, Iyka Dorival bid you a warm good afternoon. Today, my group will express our views on capital punishment. Is it a form of punishment that is a truly necessary in our society? Or should we move to more humane methods?
Is capital punishment truly a necessary evil? Capital punishment also known as the death penalty is the legal authorized killing of someone as punishment for crime. I strongly believe that it is not a necessary evil and it is wrong. No civilized country should have the power to kill their own citizens. Telling people not to kill by killing people, isn't really a great example, it is rather morally hypocritical. The death penalty violates religious views, it is not a deterrent for other crimes, and it is more costly than profitable.
Firstly, there have been ongoing arguments among Christians both for and against the death penalty as many believe that only God should create and destroy life, while others believe that those who kill should get a taste of their own medicine. In the article Catholicism and Capital Punishment (April 2001), Cardinal Dulles states that in the old testament days, “in his covenant with Noah, God laid down the principle, ' whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image'” (Genesis 9:6). In today's society, the same principle seem to be taken for granted, but Jesus, himself, in the New Testament, refrains from using violence. He rebuked his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality (Luke 9:15) and he admonished Peter to put his sword in the scabbard rather than resist arrest (Matthew 26:52). If we consider Jesus as the embodiment of our Christian faith and we are to follow his example, we should refrain from the using violence as a form of justice.
Secondly, it is evident that the death penalty is definitely not a deterrent for crime. In the United States of America, statistics show that states which have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than the states without these laws. Most people on death row commit their crimes in the heat of passion or under the influence of drugs. The idea that the death penalty has the power to stop murder, is naïve and clearly proven false by the facts. In a 2008 survey, police chiefs from North Carolina ranked the use of the death penalty at the bottom of a list of effective crime fighting tools. They said more law enforcement resources were the most needed tool for reducing violent crimes.
Thirdly, Capital punishment is more costly for any government or state than life imprisonment. This is due to the long and complex judicial process for capital cases that the court must go through. Tax payers pay $90,000 more per death row prisoner than on the regular inmate confinement. By replacing capital punishment with permanent imprisonment, the government will save over half a million in five years or more. The average capital punishment case cost $1.26 million. This is due to the pre-trial and trial costs, automatic appeals and trial petitions that all takes 3-5 times longer than a typical criminal case. Some will say that a murderer's actions are irreversible and that such a crime deserves an equal punishment. These same enthusiasts would support their claims by citing the biblical passage that exorts "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." However, if a crime deserves an equal punishment, then why do we not rape the rapist or burn the arsonist? A civilized society should be based on values and principles that are higher than those it condemns. We cannot deny the fact that to punish murders with death is inherently contradictory; because biblically we are called to live by higher values. In Matthew 5: 38-41, Jesus said we may have heard it been said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but he instructed us to turn the other cheek. He further admonishes us to love even our enemies, refrain from killing and that we should not place ourselves in the position of God by judging others. I must reiterate that vengeance and retribution are to be left to God, who is the only one with the perfect capabilities of judgment. Capital punishment is undoubtedly extreme and unequal to any crime.
Conclusively, Capital Punishment is immoral and a violation of natural rights. It violates religious view, it is not a deterrent to other crimes and it is more costly than profitable. The death penalty does not guarantee safety for innocent victims, it does not follow the goals and principles of nations, it does not effectively deter crimes and it does not give closure to victims' families. Nothing good comes out of hate, and nothing good can come from Capital Punishment. Simply put Capital Punishment CANNOT be morally justified.