In regard to the issue of criminal justice, an area that has attracted a lot of split points of discussion is the area of death penalty. This refers to taking a person’s life following an order from the judicial system considered to be the penalty for committing an offence. Scores of masses support the death penalty sentence but there have been a lot of calls to abolish the death sentence.
As at the present, a majority of the countries in the world have agreed to the pleas to do away with death penalty, either lawfully or in practice but there are some countries that still exercise death penalty even including it as a law. An example is the USA where the supreme law has actively retained and practiced capital punishment or death penalty.
Ulcepo (2003) noted in his article that though capital punishment continues to be practiced today in several countries like the USA, my feeling is that pleas calling for the abolishment of the death penalty should be heard owing to a number of feelings that have continued to be expressed.
Crimes that fall under the capital crimes are murder, rape and drug dealing. Sentencing a criminal who is said to have committed a capital crime to death has not shown any deterrent factor in ensuring that would-be-criminals are discouraged from committing crime.
Despite criminals being sentenced to death, capital crimes such as murder and rape have been on the rise as indicated by the statistics. This therefore shows that the intended reason for the death penalty which is majorly to deter such crimes from elevating has failed which begs the question of why it is still continually practiced.
The mode which death penalty is administered has been shown to be inclined towards certain race and the poor. Statistics conducted on the number of the death row inmates have shown that a majority of those awaiting prosecution draw their origin from a certain race, the minorities as well as those who hail from poor backgrounds.
This shows that the method of profiling used in the judicial process is bias and therefore it is fit to say that justice is not administered fairly and hence the call for abolishment of capital punishment (Ballard, 2003).
An economic consideration should be given to the costs of death penalty. The process of trial and convicting a criminal and finally executing them have been found to be much higher than the alternative to capital punishment which is life imprisonment. The process of convicting a criminal is a long one and which call for several sources of gathering facts.
In the society we live in today there are high chances that the process of gathering the facts will be prone to manipulations owing to influence and interests of the involved individuals. The result is that there arise cases which an innocent person is wrongly subjected to death penalty. This is wrong since a person’s life is taken unjustly. Religion has always been a major facto in shaping our morals and the way we make the laws (Blume, 2008).
Morality as well as the law teaches us that nobody has the right to take another person’s life. Executing a person therefore goes against the moral plea which shows how much we are contradicting that which guides us. Sentencing a person to death penalty in a bid to accord them a punishment that is equal to the crime they committed is not serving justice but rather a form of revenge.
Revenging does not completely justify the death penalty since circumstances arises that influence innocent individuals to act in a certain manner or accidentally and offering death as a means to gain fairness shouldn’t be the solution. The person should be allowed a chance to reform and the situations that led to such circumstances mitigated. A combination of these reasons should serve fairly to convince the government to abolish death sentence.
Despite the numerous calls to put an end to death sentence, it is important to understand the reason why it is there in the first place which is that it serves its intended purpose and therefore should continue to be practiced. Person’s who commit capital crimes are usually a threat to the community and it is only fair that for the public to live in peace, they should be eliminated totally from the public just to be sure. Such crimes that fall under the capital crimes are murder, rape and drug dealing.
According to CliffsNotes.com. (2010), when a criminal of such an offence is sentenced to death, this has a lot of impact in deterring other criminals from engaging in similar or other offences.
This works to reduce the rate of crime prevalence in the society. Another purpose that death penalty serves is seen in consoling the families of the victims; the families of the victims who were offended by the criminal usually breath a sigh of relieve when they get an assurance that the offender has completely been eliminated and therefore they get a feeling of emotional compensation for the injustice done to them. This is always a fair means of ensuring that justice is served and that everyone gets what thy deserved.
The death penalty is not exactly discriminatory along the lines of race and social class as claimed. These allegations are usually based on the statistics collected on the number of the death row inmates as well as those already executed. Despite the truth in those statistics that a majority of the people belong to a certain race or are the poor, the amendments in the law takes care of any forms of discrimination and the judicial process has clear guidelines where a person is protected against unfair ruling.
A detailed and comprehensive evaluation of those convicted to be executed and the process of the judicial ruling on their cases saw no violations in the law statutes and hence the conclusion that those who are convicted as death row inmates are lawfully in that position as opposed to claims that it was inclined towards racial social class circles (Blume et.al, 2003).
The argument rose seeking to explain why death penalty should be abolished state that an alternative should be adopted in its place which is to sentence the criminals for life imprisonment without parole? The issue I have with this alternative is that it is a well known fact that it costs the taxpayer a lot more money to keep a criminal in life imprisonment as compared to when the criminal was sentenced to death.
With the current looming era of economic crisis, governments from allover the world are doing all they can to cut the unnecessary costs incurred in order to survive the crisis. Killing murderers would cost less than imprisoning them for life, which is what the government needs during these difficult times (Eddlem, 2002).
In the course of delivering judgment on the numerous capital offences, mistakes are bound to be committed where an innocent person is convicted to death penalty. As people argue to support this point they fail to look at the positive side of the issue which is it still serves as a deterrent factor preventing lots of crime which is of much importance in ensuring peace and tranquility which in turn fosters economic benefit in terms of productivity.
Think of a person who commits murder, think of him as a person on the loose and likely to commit more murders if they continue existing. You will agree with me that it is also a feeling of the majority that such a person had better been eliminated first to serve them with an equal punishment and secondly to eliminate such a violent and wicked criminal (Blume, 2008).
A major position taken by those who seek to support the existence of death sentence is the claim that it deters crime from reoccurring. The argument here is that when a person who committed a capital crime is executed, this is going to make criminals who were contemplating committing crime to stop out of fear of being subjected to death too. This has not been fully been effective as evidenced by the continued prevalence of numerous cases of murders, rape, robbery with violence as well as drug trafficking.
It should be understood that the deterrent effect is only felt in cases where the crime committed was premeditated and carefully planned. In the case where the criminal is able to convince themselves that upon committing the crime they won’t be caught, the deterrent effect can fail to be effective. This often the case a majority of the times and hence the death penalty fails to serve its intended purpose.
According to CliffsNotes.com. (2010), there is a common tendency to support the death penalty by basing its reason on the fact that it serves the criminal with a just punishment which is equal to the crime committed. The concept they use is the one advocated in the bible by Moses in the Old Testament which is an eye for an eye.
This argument is not justified as this religious concept was revised by Jesus who replaced it with the concept of loving ones enemy. This argument cannot be used to state that justice is offered since there can’t be an equivalent of justice to repay the victims of the crime. Contrary to what the penalty is said to accomplish, it is actually some form of revenge as opposed to serving justice.
What they fail to understand is that some crimes are not premeditated or planned but are carried out as a result of the pressure the person is under or a circumstance that forces the person to act in a particular manner. Killing such a person is not justified as the person is subject to reform and should instead be allowed to recover and return to normalcy.
Killing a person also takes away another source of labor in the society which means the persons input in the society will be lost (Hawkins, 2002).
The concept of death penalty is usually discriminative in the basis of race and social class. Most of those convicted and sentenced to death penalty are from the underprivileged minorities as well as the poor. This was based on the statistics collected on the death row inmates but was later challenged by supporters of the death penalty saying that the law amendments were not violated.
A further look at the statistics indicates that the underprivileged also formed the majority of those who had been found to be falsely convicted over time. This only serves to justify why the death penalty should be abolished since it was being manipulated to and administered discriminatively (Blume, 2008).
The process of convicting a criminal to the time they are executed is said to cost a lot of money. There have been attempts to support death sentence on the basic of the saving money that would have been used to keep that person in jail incase they were alternatively sentenced to life imprisonment. What these people fail to consider is that convicting a person to the point of facing a death a sentence is a long process.
Such cases go through the investigation stage, trial stage and the final execution process which when combined costs a lot more than the cost of keeping that person in jail. In any case the number of those executed per year is just a small number and which incase the state was to save any money by executing them it won’t be much (Eddlem, 2002).
A major fear that should be considered when thinking about the issue of death penalty is the question of the case where the convicted person was innocent, but is subjected to death penalty.
This would mean that the person is denied the right to life falsely. The judicial process involves several stages which are bound to be erroneous and result in the person being served with injustice. Killing the person denies the person a chance to have his innocence proven sometime in the future.
The law clearly states that every one will be judged correctly and this part s supposed to protect against being convicted wrongly. This is the same system that erroneously sentences people to death. If the death penalty continues to be practiced it means that with time there will be scores of people who will be denied the right of life wrongly (Ballard, 2003).
In conclusion, despite the numerous calls for abolishment of the death penalty by various camps, it is still continually being practiced in various countries. This is despite there being evidence to prove it hasn’t fully served its purpose and the negative sides of it.
In USA for example, a majority of the population continue to continue to support the practice of the death penalty. This however doesn’t stop the fact that morality states that it is not right for a person to take another ones life, and that God only can decide when to take a person’s life.
Ballard, S. (2003). Should Death Sentence be abolished? Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_9_103/ai_98079603/
Blume, John H. (2008). The Dilemma of the Criminal Defendant with a Prior Record. Lessons from the Wrongfully Convicted: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 477(3), 12-27.
Blume, John H., Eisenberg, T. & Wells, M. (2004). Explaining Death Row’s Population and Racial Composition: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 1(165-207).
CliffsNotes.com. (2010). Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished?. Retrieved from
Eddlem, T. (2002). Ten Anti-Death Penalty Fallacies. New American, 13(5), 13-27.
Hawkins, S. (2002). Do We Need the Death Penalty? It is Immoral and Ineffective, 12(5), 5-12.
Ulcepo, D. (2003). The Death Penalty Should Continue To Be Used In The U.S. OPPapers, 14(12), 2-6.