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Types of Death Penalty

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“The death penalty for heinous crime is as justifiable, if society deem it necessary for its well-being, as is the demand upon the citizen-warrior to meet death upon the battle-field, or upon the doctor to remain steadfast at his duty in the plague-stricken city. The good of society is the prime reason for the punishment of criminals and their reformation is justifiable only when it conduces to this end” (Hall, 1902, p. 390). In recent years, death penalty has become a much talked about and controversial issue regardless of nation, culture or race.

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One of the earliest and known death penalty sentenced would be the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This proves that death penalty has existed since a long time ago. Globally, death penalty is sentenced to prisoners who have committed first-degree murder. However, in Malaysia, trafficking dangerous drugs, firing firearms, accomplishing in firing firearms and offending the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in person, can also lead to mandatory punishment (Is Capital Punishment Justified? , 2003) in other words, death penalty.

The prisoners are also given a chance to choose any execution method they preferred, depending on the seriousness of their case.

Despite the differences in what crimes lead to death penalty, most countries that allow death penalty have something in common, that is the execution method used to carry out the sentences. Three widely used execution methods of death penalty in countries that allow death penalty are lethal injection, hanging and electrocution The first common execution method used in countries that allow death penalty is lethal injection. Amnesty International USA (n. d. ) listed the method of execution of lethal injection. Usually, lethal injection is carried out by administering three different types of liquid into the bloodstream of the prisoner.

A gurney is used to bind the prisoner down. Firstly, sodium thiopental, when injected, works as an anesthetic, making the prisoner sleep. Secondly, pancrunomium bromide is injected to help paralyze the prisoner. Lastly, potassium chloride, when released, makes the prisoner’s heart stop beating. This kind of execution method is done in front of up to 50 individual witnesses, ranging from family members of the prisoner to journalist or newspaper press (California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, n. d. ). An article in Capital Punishment UK (n. d. on lethal injection states that complications can occur during the execution. “The most common problem seems to be where the needle either misses the vein or passes through it” (Capital Punishment UK, n. d. ). Even the most trained doctors have problem locating a vein on a patient and may miss the veins, moreover an untrained warden. Besides that, prisoners’ veins may be unsuitable for injection as they may have been drug abusers or diabetic patient. Their veins have been weakened by multiple times of injection, thus making the veins unable to withstand too much pressure.

The only advantage there is to this kind of execution method is prisoners do not feel the excruciating pain during the whole execution because they are paralyzed. In some state or countries, they have reduced the number of injection to one as waiting for the injection proves to be too much for the prisoners, to the extent of breaking down mentally. All in all, lethal injection is the less humane among the three death penalty execution method used as it thinks up a lot of time in executing and the effects on the prisoner even before carrying out the sentence is very terrible.

In addition, prisoners on death penalty can be hanged to death as an alternate execution method. In general, Capital Punishment UK (n. d. ) shows that there are 4 main forms of hanging. First of all, short drop hanging is one of the methods. Death is caused by strangulation when the prisoner is dropped only a short distance. Next, another form would be suspension hanging. Typically, a crane will lift up the prisoners and then release the prisoners. The prisoners are paraded in public before being hanged on the crane.

Besides that, the form that most countries are currently using is standard drop hanging. This form of hanging is not to break the neck of the prisoners; rather letting them die of strangulation. Last of all, the most humane form would be the long drop hanging. The prisoners would be allowed to fall a pre-determined height, then jerked upwards. The prisoners’ neck break easily and immediately as the heads are still attached to the noose; thus, lessening the pain and suffering of the prisoners. Death Penalty Information Center (n. d. ) has concluded the process of general hanging.

The process is started when the prisoner is weighed a day before the execution and the prison officers rehearse using a bag of sand weighing the same as the prisoner. By rehearsing, the prison officers could determine the length of the rope so as not to prolong the torture and suffering of the prisoner. Before the rope can be used, it has to be treated. Firstly, the 3/4inch to 1 ? inch rope is “boiled and stretched to eliminate spring or coiling. The knot should be lubricated with wax or soap” (“Hanged by the Neck”, n. d. ) “to ensure a smooth sliding action” (US Army Manual, 1969).

Now, the prisoner is blindfolded, hands and legs bounded, and noose is placed on his neck. Then, the trapdoor underneath the prisoner is opened, allowing the prisoner to fall through. Should everything is properly in place, a rapid fracture dislocation of the neck will occur. However, Weisberg (1991) says “instantaneous death rarely occurs”. There are many reasons contributing to it. Among them, the inmate might have strong neck muscles, have a light weight, insufficient length of the ‘drop’ or a wrongly positioned noose can result in a slow and painful death.

Though more humane than lethal injection, there is also a lot of precaution and measures to be taken to minimize the suffering of the prisoners. Lastly, electrocution is one of the common execution method used to sentence prisoners with death penalty. Before being executed, the prisoner has to shave certain parts of the body and be bounded strongly on a chair (Death Penalty Information Center, n. d. ). Then, a metal electrode, shaped like a skull cup, is put over a saline-moist sponge on top of the scalp and the forehead of the prisoner. Before the execution begins, the prisoner is blindfolded.

Electro-creme or conductive jelly is spread over another electrode and attached to the prisoner’s leg which has been shaved to minimize resistance to electricity. Ranging from 500 to 2000 volts, an electric shock was given lasting about 30 seconds. Suppose the prisoner is still alive after the first shock, this process will be repeated until the prisoner is pronounced dead. There is one very important detail to take care of before each execution: the sponge. The sponge cannot be too wet or it will short circuit the electric current; neither can it be too dry or it will have a high resistance to electricity.

But no matter how much precaution has been taken, the effects of this electrocution is not pleasant. In 1994, Ecenbarger made this statement, “.. the prisoner’s eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner’s flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire…. Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber. This execution method was supposedly to be humane towards the prisoners. To a certain extent, it does as the prisoners need not wait long before dying. But the pain of being ‘cooked’ alive is just like hanging oneself. In conclusion, lethal injection, hanging and electrocution are death penalty execution method that countries allowing death penalty are practicing. The main objective of having death penalty is to hopefully deter people from doing any kind of crimes. Since ancient time, death penalty was executed in the public to show what might happen should anyone try to commit any crime.

But as years pass, death penalty is executed privately so as not to frighten the citizen because of the gruesome sight that is seen during the execution. All the three type of execution method share one same goal: to bring justice to the world and set an example for the world to see. That is why, no matter how gruesome, how painful and even how ugly the execution are, death penalty is legal in certain countries This study has really helped me know and understand the different types of death penalty that are being executed nowadays.

I learned that even though the prisoners have committed crimes that may not be forgiven, they are still human; thus, they should deserve a chance to die the least painful way. Besides that, I learned that these execution methods were created or thought off in a good manner: to minimize the suffering the prisoners have to go through before dying. Doing this research, I realized that death penalty should remain legal as long as possible because only then we can maintain a peaceful and harmony world.

Cite this Types of Death Penalty

Types of Death Penalty. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/types-of-death-penalty/

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