4. Death Penalty
There are two main theories involved with the death penalty: the theory of retribution and the utilitarian theory of punishment. The theory of retribution, as in, an eye for an eye; they deserve punishment equal to what their crime is. The utilitarian theory of punishment argues that one may only punish in order to produce the best possible future outcome for everyone. In Chapter 4 “The Death Penalty Debate”, C.S. Lewis presents a different theory. In “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” article, Lewis is rational in fearing that control of the justice system would be relegated to so call experts and criminals would lose their rights as human beings. Lewis’s suggested a different route which includes the Retributive theory with the Humanitarian theory. Lewis believes that the Retributive theory is not driven by revenge but instead by humanity’s drive to maintain control on their society. It is then considered legitimate and not immoral. Lewis points out that no good can actually come out of the Humanitarian theory. Lewis argues the practicability of the Humanitarian theory in the context of England in the 1970’s but his fears are related to contemporary day society in the United States as well. The Humanitarian theory denies us of our rights as human beings and “carries on its front a semblance of mercy which is wholly false”, Lewis wrote. The idea of using punishment as a cure brings up major problems with the Humanitarian theory. This leaves us to ask who will decide what punishment is an appropriate cure for a criminal. This means that there would be a selected group of experts trained to do so. Lewis, sickened with the idea, calls them “penologists”. In the court system of England that Lewis is using as a basis, the citizen juries not only help determine guilt or innocence of the accused but also the severity of the punishment. Lewis sees the retributive theory as an inherent and crucial part of society. He also states that citizen...
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