The Internet of Encyclopedia states that “the person forfeits his rights when committing even minor crimes. Once rights are forfeited, Locke justifies punishment for two reasons: (1) from the retributive side, criminals deserve punishment, and, (2) from the utilitarian side, punishment is needed to protect our society by deterring crime through example. Thus, society may punish the criminal any way it deems necessary so to set an example for other would-be criminals. This includes taking away his life.
Key arguments for supporters of capital punishment include: That people committing the most heinous crimes (usually murder, in Western countries that practice the death penalty) have forfeited the right to life so executing them is not murder. Government is not an individual and is given far more powers; therefore, executions are not "murder." Since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, a murderer is likely to murder again, so execution prevents future murders. That it provides peace of minds for victims of crime and their families. A belief in reciprocity,- “an eye for an eye” - is part of the concept of justice for many people. That it is in fact less cruel than prolonged sentences of imprisonment, especially under the conditions that would be popularly demanded for heinous criminals. That it is explicitly allowed in constitutions and other documents of basic law. pg. 2
Cons of Capital Punishment
Capital punishment is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law. Most arguments against capital punishment are based on exposing flaws in defenses of capital punishment. However, some are more direct attacks, such as that capital punishment should be abolished since it is undignified, inhumane, or contrary to love. Defenders of capital punishment argue that retributive justice is one such conflicting duty. For, even though we are duty bound to acknowledge a criminal's dignity, the duty of retribution is also present and...
References: “Capital Punishment.”
“The Internet of Capital Punishment of Philosophy.”
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