"The Punishment of death has never prevented determined men from injuring society." --Beccaria
Today, one of the most debated issues in the Criminal Justice System is the issue of capital punishment. Capital punishment was legal until 1972, when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia stating that it violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments citing cruel and unusual punishment. In 1976, the Supreme Court reversed its decision with Gregg v. Georgia and reinstated the death penalty. Although not all states embrace the death penalty, many still do.
The death penalty effects our nation as a whole. It makes a man into a god and lets a man decide whether another should live or die. It makes us believe that error is not possible and that no convicted man can be innocent. It makes us believe that death is the only way to teach society a lesson. It makes us believe these things because that is all we are left to believe.
The issue of the death penalty is very complex but can be characterized as being a way to deal with the crooked criminals, murderers and rapists. We see these people as the lowest form of humans in our society and we all believe in one thing, they should be incarcerated. The arguments and debates come about when we decide what to do with these criminals thereafter. What should be done with these criminals? Where should they be placed? What was their cause for committing these crimes? Are they guilty? When should we kill them? These are many of the questions that are and always being asked due to the frequent crimes that have and always will persist. These are as well the same questions that when answered determine whether or not, (in certain states and if the crime is of that statute), a man should be put to his death.
Capital Punishment is cruel and unusual no matter from what angle it is viewed. Being a once firm believer of the death penalty and thinking of the torture a convicted muderer or rapist should endure, I know think of how much more he would suffer with a life sentence in solitary confinement. I know think of this man being held in a cell for 23 hours a day, only allowed 1 hour of freedom from his cell in which he is heavily guarded from escape. I know try to put myself in this mans position and think how everyday that goes by, I would think of the reason why I am there. I then stop and ask myself, is this not worse than the death penalty in itself? Is this a better way to teach society what is to come if they choose to commit these hideous crimes? It is a more human yet punishable way to convict these felons? These are the questions that should start to be asked when a man is convicted. These are the questions that will start to help the absolute removal of the death penalty throughout our nation.
The death penalty is important to me because of what it stands for. It stands for everything that is wrong in our criminal justice system. It serves for the belief that when a convicted man is sentenced to death it is so because the jury or the judge had found him guilty and that there is no reasonable understanding to think otherwise. It blinds our vision as to believing that there are no innocent men on death row and that it would be unjustifiable to think otherwise. It stands for trying to blind the public into believing that the death penalty serves as a deterrent. It trys to make us feel that with a death penalty, the crooked criminal, murderers and rapists will think twice before they commit a crime. It makes us believe that states with the death penalty are safer than those without. It serves as a way for us to believe that the death penalty can also be used as a way of legal revenge. It is a way for us to punish those law breakers to make those who feel they have been harmed into feeling better. It makes us believe lies.
The death penalty has four main reasons which I believe others use to justify it. One of the ways...
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