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The Death Penalty

By juicyfree May 07, 2013 926 Words

Point 1: brief history of the death penalty
Point 2: costs of putting a criminal on death penalty
Point 3: worldwide use of the death penalty
Point 4: Juveniles on death row
Point 5: alternatives to the use of the death penalty
Point 6: possible error in killing someone who is innocent
Point 7: death penalty protects society from dangerous criminals Point 8: effectiveness of the death penalty


Gage Freeman
American Politics
Dr. Bill Curren
15 October 2012

Despite the fact that over 135 countries across the globe have outlawed the death penalty, and that there is little evidence to support its use, the United States remains as one of the few major industrialized nations that still executes prisoners. While Some have regarded the death penalty as a deterrent, and some have regarded it as state sanctioned murder and uncivilized, for years the death penalty has been questioned whether it is the right step towards justice or a brutal injustice. Almost all nations in the world have had the death sentence and had enforced it in one way or another. In most cases it was used to punish those who broke the laws or other standards that varied from country to country. Some historical methods of execution were restricted only by one’s imagination; including flaying or burying alive, boiling in oil, crushing beneath the wheels of vehicles or the feet of elephants, forcing combat in the arena ,throwing to wild beasts, blowing from the mouth of a cannon, piercing with javelins, impaling, starving to death, poisoning, firing squad, strangling, suffocating, drowning, beheading, and in current times, electrocuting, using the gas chamber, and giving lethal injection . Ancient societies had very brutal methods that were ridiculously inhumane. Fortunately, this was generally not the case for americans. Americans inherited most of our capital punishment from the United Kingdom and England. But during the eighteenth century, in both England and America, criminals were occasionally pressed to death, drawn and quartered, and burned at the stake. Throughout England, the rotting corpses of executed criminals scattered the country, which essentially sent a warning to all those who dare defy the law, or otherwise acted as a deterrent. Executions were always conducted in public and often became the scene of drunken gatherings to witness the execution. People are naturally drawn to such spectacles, because they are not getting killed. Crimes of every description against the state, against the person, against property, against public peace were made punishable by death in early English laws. Even with fairly lax law enforcement after 1800, between two and three thousand persons were sentenced to death each year from 1805 to 1810. Which is an exorbitant amount; even by today’s standards. Furthermore, several decisions, later in history, handed down by the Supreme Court in the post-World War II years have had a significant effect on the discussion of both persons both for and against capital punishment. Including Louisiana v. Resweber (1946)- cruelty dealing with humane ways of execution, followed by the United States v. Jackson (1967)- the provisions that dealt with kidnapping, next was Witherspoon v. Illinois (1968)- determined excluding juries that had a bias towards death penalties being unconstitutional, and finally McGautha v. California (1971)- juries discretion upon the death penalty and the fourteenth amendment’s “equal protection clause”. All of these have impacted the nature and execution of the death penalty, as it is known today in the United States. Not only is the act of the death penalty a brutal and inhumane procedure, it is also ridiculously expensive.

Two wrongs don’t make a right! You choose! Civilization or Brutalism? As a society we should determine the fate we have dealt ourselves. We have developed these offender’s, we should therefore deal with them as a society. It is true that the varieties of ways in which men have put one another to death is horrific

It is somewhat curious that any of these horrendous and inhumane methods of execution survived as long as they did, for the English Bill of Rights of 1689 proscribed “cruel and unusual punishments Which is still in use today in the American Constitution

Which in a way is a repayment towards the victim’s family, or “just deserts”. This view of the death penalty wouldn’t rely on a jury to decide what should be done to the offender. Let’s say the offender was black and raped a white woman, and the jury sentenced them to life in prison. People could say in the same circumstances a white man would only get ten years. But using an eye for an eye, both men would be raped in return. No discrimination. And the same goes for the death penalty, there wouldn’t be no prejudice, it would just simply be “you kill, you die—end of story”, enough said.

Because (I would like to believe) most Americans are rational, free thinking people. Those who oppose the death penalty can only picture the offender being executed, they do not think about how many innocent people would be killed if there wasn’t a death penalty to act as a deterrent

Another reason pro-death penalty advocates give for their belief is that it serves as retribution, or an eye for an eye. These are the two main types of retribution: revenge, in which the victim gets satisfaction, and “just deserts”, which the offender should have an obligation to repay society (Silverman 44). An eye for an eye relies on what people deserve for their crime, which determines what kind of punishment they will receive

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