Capital Punishment Paper Essay
Introduction As the years go by, we are beginning to realize how the violence in Belize is progressing - Capital Punishment Paper Essay introduction. As citizens we also realize how the laws are not being enforced and thus further supporting the progression of the violence in our streets. It has come to the extreme that we are no longer able to feel secure in our own homes. Therefore the thought of enforcing Capital Punishment has come about. Many countries in the world have resulted to capital punishment in their judiciary system, and have seen a decrease in their rate of violence.
Belize, like many other countries, entails the use of capital punishment in our constitution, so it is just a matter of having a reform in our judicial system and begin to execute this procedure. We need to start thinking about our future as youths and for the future of our children, and in doing so, we need to find solutions for all the crime and violence that is overpowering our society. Capital punishment, as has been proven in other countries, is an effective procedure in decreasing all the corruption in societies.
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So for us here in Belize, it is just a matter of coming to an agreement and begin to execute a change. The laws need to begin to change now if we want to see a bright future ahead. Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the execution (killing) of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital origins from Latin capitalis, literally “regarding the head” (Latin caput). Hence, a capital crime originally was to be punished by the loss of the head.
In Phil for Humanity (The Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment), Capital punishment or the death penalty is the act of killing or executing a person, who was found guilty of a serious crime, by the government. These two definitions of capital punishment are quite similar in terms of penalty and the reason for executing the penalty; however, the agent responsible for the execution is not stated in the definition given in Wikipedia Encyclopedia while Phil for Humanity stated specifically that it is an act of the government.
Capital punishment is as old as civilization itself. The earliest historical records contain evidence of capital punishment. It was mentioned in the code of Hammurabi, a collection of laws and edicts by Babylonian king Hammurabi that date from the first half of the 18th century BC. The Bible prescribed death as the penalty for more than 30 different crimes, ranging from murder to fornication “Whoever hits a man and kills him is to be put to death. ” (Exodus 21:12). The Draconian Code of ancient Greece imposed capital punishment for every offense.
It also existed in the legal codes of the Ancient Middle Eastern Kingdoms. Without a doubt, execution is the ultimate punishment for a crime, because there is no repeal from death. An alternative for capital punishment would be life in prison without parole. A lot of nations still perform the death penalty. This is because the debate whether capital punishment is ethical and justifiable is still widely disputed (Phil B. ; Phil for Humanity). For most of recorded history, capital punishments were often cruel and inhuman.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia on Capital Punishment listed severe historical penalties which include breaking wheel, boiling to death, flaying, slow slicing, disembowelment, crucifixion, impalement, crushing (including crushing by elephant), stoning, execution by burning, dismemberment, sawing, decapitation, scaphism, or necklacing. Trends in most of the world have long been to move to less painful, or more humane, executions. Academics and law enforcers earlier in Europe argued that the death penalty was needlessly cruel, overrated as a deterrent and occasionally imposed in fatal error.
Along with Quaker leaders and other social reformers, they defended life imprisonment as a more rational alternative. However today there is still a lot of debate on the ethics and justification for capital punishment (Phil B. , Phil for Humanity ‘Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment’). Arguments have been put forward by abolitionists (people against capital punishment) and retentionists (people for capital punishment). An argument that abolitionists have is that capital punishment is not biblically right. In the issue of morality, bolitionists think that respect for life forbids the use of the death penalty, while retentionists believe that respect for life requires it (Biblical History of Capital Punishment). Richard Clark (in“Thoughts on Capital Punishment”‘Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment’) described the Abolitionist views and the Retentionists views on Capital punishment. The abolitionists put forward a number of incontrovertible arguments against the death penalty. The most important one is the virtual certainty that genuinely innocent people will be executed and that there is no possible way of compensating them for this miscarriage of justice.
A second reason, that is often overlooked, is the hell the innocent family and friends of criminals must also go through in the time leading up to and during the execution and which will often cause them serious trauma for years afterwards. The abolitionists said that it must be remembered that criminals are real people too who have life and with it the capacity to feel pain, fear and the loss of their loved ones, and all the other emotions that the rest of us are capable of feeling. Clark identified two reasons stated for the retention of capital punishment.
One is that the criminal must be incapacitated. Capital punishment permanently removes the worst criminals from society and should prove much cheaper and safer for the rest of us than long term or permanent incarceration. It is self evident that dead criminals cannot commit any further crimes, either within prison or after escaping or being released from it. Second is that money is not an inexhaustible commodity and the state may very well better spend our (limited) resources on the old, the young and the sick etc. , rather than on the long term imprisonment of murderers, rapists, etc.
The alternative to capital punishment would be life imprisonment without parole for the worst criminal. Clark believes that we are faced with three options: 1) Not to have the death penalty and the genuine problems it causes and continue to accept the relatively high levels of murder and other serious crimes that we presently have. 2) Reintroduce capital punishment for just the “worst” murderers which would at least be some retribution for the terrible crimes they have committed and would permanently incapacitate them.
It would also save a small amount of money each year which could, perhaps, be spent on the more genuinely needy. This option is unlikely to reduce crime levels. 3) Reintroduce the death penalty in the really strict format outlined above and see a corresponding drop in serious crime whilst accepting that there will be a lot of human misery caused to the innocent families of criminals and that there will be the occasional, if inevitable, mistakes. Crime is inevitably one of the biggest problems that the modern world faces today.
It can be found all over the world, whether in large cities or small villages. Over time, society has tried to find ways to deal with crime. Such methods include community service, paying a fine, serving some time in prison, and in the case of more serious crimes, the death penalty. This is the case in which persons have been executed for aggravated assault, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, sabotage and espionage. In Favor of Capital Punishment (retentionists), we believe that the death penalty is the best and fairest punishment for people who have committed crimes in our country.
Other techniques recommended by abolitionists (people against capital punishment) such as rehabilitation are so underdeveloped that no one is ever certain that a murderer can be rehabilitated. An argument that abolitionists have is that capital punishment is not biblically right. In the issue of morality, abolitionists think that respect for life forbids the use of the death penalty, while retentionists believe that respect for life requires it. Leviticus 24:17 says, “And he that killeth any man shall be put to death. Numbers 35:31 says, “Ye shall take no satisfaction or ransom for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death; but shall surely be put to death. ” Men have enacted laws authorizing people to kill those who violate God’s laws, yet in doing so, they have violated God’s law which forbids the killing of all men; it is simply a contradiction. Genesis 9:6 says, “Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. ” Retentionists believe that society has the right to kill in defense of its members, just as an individual has the right to kill in self defense for his or her own personal safety.
Abolitionists consider execution cruel and unusual. What seems to be overlooked is that what the criminal did is also cruel, unusual, brutal, and savage. When comparing the different methods of execution used today, such as the gas chamber and lethal injection, to the methods of the past, such as stoning and burning at the stake, they are not meant for extensive torture, but meant for punishment for the crime. The issue of execution of an innocent person is troubling to both abolitionists and retentionists alike.
Some people are frightened of this possibility enough to be convinced that capital punishment should be abolished. This is not true at all. The execution of innocent people is very rare because there are many safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. There is legal assistance provided and an automatic appeal for persons convicted of capital crimes. Persons under the age of eighteen, pregnant women, new mothers or persons who have become insane can not be sentenced to death.
In regards to all the money spent yearly on prisons, we think that it can be invested in educational institutions instead. Although some may argue that capital punishment costs more tax dollars, in the long run, it will reduce crimes because it deters people from committing violent crime and is a variable solution for protecting society; also, we avoid having to spend even more of our tax dollars on expanding or building new prisons because of overcrowding. While there is no more a harsher penalty than that of death, abolitionists believe that prison for life is more feared.
They argue that the claim that capital punishment deters crime is inconclusive because there is no empirical evidence of this. However, many criminals do in fact fear the death penalty. Also, a criminal is less likely to commit murder, if he or she thinks that death will come to him or her. Another way the death penalty deters murder, is the fact that if the killer is dead, he will not be able to kill again. In addition, we do acknowledge that not all crimes deserve the death penalty.
Let the punishment fit the crime. We feel that it is important to send a message to future criminals that in not honoring the life of others, they make null and void their own right to membership of our community and must face the ultimate penalty. BIBLIOGRAPHY Capital Punishment Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913) New York: Robert Appleton Company Capital Punishment Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 2007. Wikipedia Encyclopedia Online http://www. richard. clark32. btinternet. co. uk/thoughts. html#ethical