16 June 2013
The Necessity of the Death Penalty
The Death Penalty has been a part of the American Justice system since its inception. When European settlers came to the new world they brought the practice of capital punishment with them. As society progressed and evolved, so did the way we apply the death penalty. Capital punishment laws have continually changed to reflect our values; when, how and why we apply death has changed drastically since its first use in colonial times. The reason death as punishment has existed throughout history is because it is a necessary function of society. The prospect of death can serve as a warning to would be murders therefore it serves a purpose within the system. Knowing the person responsible has paid for their crimes helps give closure to the loved ones of murder victims. Capital punishment as we know it today is used sparingly and not without much deliberation and due process. Mentally ill, mentally retarded, Juveniles and pregnant women are exempt from death sentences; currently 18 states have abolished Capital punishment. (Hartley). There are some crimes whose severity is such that the perpetrators of these acts cannot be allowed to exist; this is not barbarism, but justice.
The Death penalty is the justice systems appropriate answer to injustice and the methods employed are not inhumane. Murder is considered a willful depravation of the victim’s, ‘right to life’, so the criminal’s, ‘right to life’ being taken away is not an inappropriate response, even if it is severe. In other words, the punishment fits the crime. Considering the way some murder victims die; it could be said the criminal has an easier fate than their victim. Killing an innocent person is a miscarriage of justice but no system is without flaws or mistakes. The possibility of a mistake is rare enough not to warrant the abolition of the death penalty all together. It is a calculated risk society is...
Cited: Hartley, R. D. "Sentencing Reforms and the War on Drugs: An Analysis of Sentence Outcomes for Narcotics Offenders Adjudicated in U.S. District Courts on the Southwest Border." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24.4 (2008): 437-61. Print.
Petrunik, M. G. "Managing Unacceptable Risk: Sex Offenders, Community Response, and Social Policy in the United States and Canada." International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 46.4 (2002): 483-511. Print.
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