What would the world be like if the guilty was punished? Great; if in that world we could punish only the guilty and not the innocent.
Thousands of innocent people have found their demise through our justice system. For this reason, and this reason alone, we should not allow capital punishment to implement itself on society. For if we do, we are making a grave mistake. Humans alone don t hold the power to justify which punishment is proper.
We are rational beings who should think sensibly when making serious decisions about the existence of life in itself.We(the society) should be the jury and the judge, but not the executioner of someone who commits a crime. Only God can be the executioner. A forward-looking justification of punishment aims its goals to better the society of the future.
Two examples of this type of justification are deterrence(of the future criminals), and reform(of present criminals). Claims have been made that capital punishment deters future murderers, and, hence; saves or spares the lives of future victims. Is this possible?If there is any validity to the deterrence argument, it is negated by the endless appeals, delays, and retrials that keep the guilty awaiting their death for years on end. If society cannot deter a would-be criminal by a life-sentence in prison, then that criminal won t be deterred by the death penalty, either.
So, in my opinion, capital punishment is not necessary for deterrence. What about reform? In my eyes, it s the only effective treatment with enough force to actually change the criminal; if it changes them at all.Whether it be psychotherapy or detainment in a penal institution, reform gives the offender in question another chance at life–even if it means spending the rest of it in prison. Reform, in the end, is the only way to justifiably punish someone without taking their life.
Utilitarianism is a moral theory that states an action is right if and only if it maximizes the happiness of affected parties. If this a true moral theory, then capital punishment would not be justified.For if the criminal was wrongly accused, then his expectable utility would not be maximized. Even if he was guilty, his happiness would not be maximized unless he was deranged and wanted his demise.
Richard B. Brandt states that the essence of the rule-utilitarian theory is that our actions, whether legislative or otherwise, should be guided by a set of prescriptions, the conscientious following of which by all would have the maximum net expectable utility.The fact that capital punishment s so-called deterrence was based on inconclusive evidence should admissibly countermand its justification of punishment. This would reprehend any maximizing of happiness for affected parties.
The goal of utilitarianism is to reduce as much unhappiness as possible and this necessitates implementing the least severe of two possible punishments(life imprisonment or death). Since we are maximizing happiness of the party, we should look at the society as a whole.From the utilitarian perspective, life imprisonment can be ustified by the fact that it presumably deters would-be offenders, and it prevents the criminal from repeating his crime on society. This will maximize the society s happiness, or greater balance it.
Brandt also states that when we combine the principle of utilitarianism with true propositions about a certain thing or situation, then we shall come out with true statements about obligations. Those obligations should be to maximize the happiness of the affected party, which in turn requires the society to disregard capital punishment.