Capital Punishment- Informative Essay

An innocent man is wrongly executed whilst a man who raped and murdered a mother and her thirteen year old daughter spends the rest of his life with three meals a day and cable television. Which of these is the bigger injustice? The use of the death penalty to punish serious crimes is a very controversial topic and there is much debate surrounding the issue. This paper will briefly discuss arguments supporting and against the use of the death penalty. The death penalty which is also known as capital punishment is the punishment of a crime by execution.

Washington Post 2008: e. data) Such extreme sentences are awarded for very serious crimes such as premeditated murder, multiple murders, repeated crimes, rape and murder and so on, where the offender is considered to be of an ongoing danger to society. (Washington Post 2008: e. data) Many people across America support the use of the death penalty because they believe that it is a deterrent, religiously appropriate, more cost effective than keeping a person behind bars for life and serves as the only real justice for certain major crimes.

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The death penalty is still practiced in thirty eight states across America. (Washington Post 2008: e. data) It is argued that the possibility of receiving the death penalty works as a strong deterrence against major crimes (Giles 1993: 43; Death Row on Trial 2001: video) because “people are less likely to commit such offences due to fear of death”. (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Also, the expense of keeping a person who is convicted of a major crime behind bars for life is very costly, averaging around twenty three thousand dollars a year (Washington Post 2008: e. ata) and supporters of the death penalty believe that this overall cost is much more expensive than an execution. In addition, the death penalty is often considered the only true justice for the victims of certain very serious crimes. (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) When crimes such as rape and murder occur, the family of the victim is often unsatisfied when the perpetrator is only sentenced to life in prison and does not receive the death penalty, because unlike the victim they get to remain alive with a bed, three meals a day and often even cable television. Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Religiously, the death penalty can also be morally justified because the Bible states “an eye for an eye” (Exodus 21:23-27) which can be interpreted as a life for a life. The death penalty is also widely opposed by people across America because it is argued to be immoral, a form of torture, economically biased, susceptible to error and does not act as a deterrent. In contrast to the opponent’s view, supporters believe that religiously the death penalty is wrong because the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill”. sixth commandment) It is also argued that if killing is wrong, then the government should not use it as a form of punishment (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) “how can we kill people who kill people to show its wrong” (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Also when a person is sentenced to death, they are told how they will be killed and when, until finally they are taken to be executed, which could be years after receiving the original sentence. (Washington Post 2008: e. ata) This period in which the convicted person must wait is considered to be a form of torture, (Washington Post 2008: e. data; Death Row on Trial 2001: video) especially when in some cases the person will often see or even hear being tested the chair in which they will be executed. (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Another major problem with the death penalty is the possibility that an innocent person may be executed, (Washington Post 2008: e. ata; Death Row on Trial 2001: video; Giles 1993: 48) and this has proven to be the case in at least five executions across America in the past century. (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) A good example of a case that illustrates the problem with an irreversible verdict is that of Timothy Evans: Evans was hanged in 1950 in the United Kingdom for murders subsequently found to have been committed by the notorious John Christie, and was pardoned posthumously in 1966 (Giles 1993: 48)

The death penalty is also considered to be economically biased. (Washington Post 2008: e. data) Every defendant is supposed to be offered the same chance for justice, but how can this be so when a wealthier person can afford a better defence including such things as expensive tests unavailable to a poorer defendant and this could end up being the difference between life and death. (Washington Post 2008: e. data) Opponents of the death penalty also refute the supporter’s claim that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. Washington Post 2008: e. data; Death Row on Trial 2001: video; Giles 1993: 46) Statistics favour this view because in countries such as Australia where the death penalty has been abolished, the number of murders and major crimes that were previously punishable by death did not increase as a result of the abolishment of the death penalty. (Giles 1993: 46) In conclusion the death penalty is a very controversial topic.

Supporters believe that the death penalty works as a deterrent against many very serious crimes, is religiously appropriate, cheaper than keeping the convicted person behind bars for life and serves as the only real justice for the victims of certain very serious crimes Opponents believe that the death penalty is immoral, a form of torture, economically biased towards the poor, does not act as a deterrent and that the risk of executing an innocent person is too high.

The death penalty seems to be a fair punishment to some of the very serious crimes, but with the risk of executing an innocent person always present, the death penalty should be abolished in the countries where it still remains. ABSTRACT An innocent man is wrongly executed whilst a man who raped and murdered a mother and her thirteen year old daughter spends the rest of his life with three meals a day and cable television.

Which of these is the bigger injustice? The death penalty which is also known as capital punishment is the punishment of a crime by execution. (Washington Post 2009: e. data) Many people across America support the use of the death penalty because they believe that it is a deterrent, religiously appropriate, more cost effective than keeping a person behind bars for life and serves as the only real justice for certain major crimes.

The death penalty is also widely opposed by people across America because it is argued to be immoral, a form of torture, economically biased, susceptible to error and does not act as a deterrent. The death penalty seems to be a fair punishment to some of the very serious crimes, but with the risk of executing an innocent person always present, the death penalty should be abolished in the countries where it still remains. BIBLIOGRAPHY Death Row on Trial, , 2001, David C. Taylor, Brisbane, (distributed by ABC Broadcast), 43 min.

Jackson B. , in Giles, R. (ed. ), 1993, For & against: Public Issues in Australia, 2nd edn, Jacaranda Press, Brisbane. Lisa, L. , 2008, ‘Panel Calls for Abolition of Death Penalty’, The Washington Post, 141, November, [electronic], available from: http://elibrary. bigchalk. com/libweb/australia/do/document? set=search&groupid=1&requestid=lib_australia&resultid=1&edition=&ts=A45BD7BB60B5193B33D4CD1F895C7078_1242786907031&start=1&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B158114447/multipleview/3221

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