Is Death Penalty Justified?
Is Death Penalty Justified? Who has the right to take away your life? Should legal provisions override human life? In deed issues to do with death and life elicit a host of opinions and have remained sentimental throughout human history. This is largely because they define the ultimate value of a given society towards human life. In this context, the interplay between the legal provisions and ethical implications of life has a crucial role, cutting across various spheres of life. For centuries, the issue of capital punishment has remained debatable with parties involved strongly defending their positions. Those who argue against this form of punishment affirm that it has numerous negative effects to the society and therefore should not be considered as one of the ways of dealing with crime in our Criminal Justice Systems. On the other hand, capital punishment proponents argue that it is a justifiable practice, which is only based on the intensity of the pain and harm, which victims are exposed to.
Why then should we support capital punishment? One of the leading arguments is that capital punishment is one of the well known approaches of promoting justice in the society. In their 2009 study, Beck, Britto, and Andrews noted that justice only prevails when criminals get punished for their crimes. This is paramount in promoting proper governance as fairness and equality are upheld at all times. As a result, the law as it eliminates criminals spares innocent citizens who happen to be victims. Additionally, capital punishment is the only way to punish individual criminals for the crimes committed. When it comes to justice, it is worth noting that the punishment handed to a criminal ought to reflect how weighty the crime is. When this approach is not embraced, no society can attain a just and fair justice system. Oftentimes, capital punishment criminals usually deserve it based on the nature of the crimes committed before the law (Beck et al., 2009).
No one is against the fact that human life is sacred and has to be protected by the law at all cost. This is true for opponents and proponents of capital punishment. While this is the case, it is vital to ask ourselves the number of lives taken away by capital offenders. Which is better: losing one person who threatens the lives of thousands or sparing criminals and endangering the society? It can therefore be argued that capital punishment does not cause societal loss and harm as it stands. Oftentimes, those who qualify for this form of justice usually have a record of other serious crimes, including murder (Perlin, 2013). It is therefore justifiable to hand them death punishment, as they are merchants of death. Why should the law perceive the lives of murderers to be sacred when they do not honor human life?
What about the mental capacity of people who commit capital crimes? As described by Perlin in her 2013 survey, some criminals are usually under the influence of insanity, which compels them to act outside societal and legal norms. It is worth noting that human beings run criminal justice and the law usually allows a window of leniency in such cases. Whilst this is the case, research reveals that these individuals have a higher likelihood of carrying on with such activities in their entire lives. For this reason, they are likely to cause more harm and take a way the lives of many, thus undermining the course of justice. In order to realize a totally just and equal society, criminals with mental problems deserve the same treatment and should be handed death punishment.
Capital punishment has been proven as a way of controlling crime through the deterrent effect (Goldberg, 2011). In most cases, death punishment instills fear within the society thus discouraging them from committing such criminal acts. In this respect, people become more aware of the consequences of committing capital crimes, thus helping the justice system to realize its goal. It can therefore be noted that death punishment is effective in eliminating future cases of crimes, which undermine human life in the society. This course is equally cheap and worth to pursue than having mercy on an individual who threatens the entire population.
While there are numerous reasons why capital punishment should be encouraged, we also need to explore the other side of this approach in promoting criminal justice in the society. Has it ever clicked that some people have been and are being executed unfairly? For instance, Allen, Clubb and Lacey (2008) note that there are factors, which influence rulings in most capital cases. A leading factor is racism, where people have been wrongfully handed to hangmen, because of their origin and not the crime committed. This therefore calls for independent and flawless investigations before one is handed to death punishment. Unlike any other punishment, death has severe and permanent effects to not only victims but also the society at large. The criminal justice ought to put in place mechanism to eliminate cases of unfair and wrongful capital judgments based on factors outside the legal framework of the case like race (Allen, Clubb & Lacey, 2008).
From the above analysis, it is evident that death punishment remains justifiable even though the issue is still debatable. Among other things, capital punishment promotes in a less costly manner as compared to other options. Through this, the criminal justice system is able to uphold equity and reemphasize the seriousness of capital crimes in the society. Furthermore, it aims safeguarding the lives of innocent citizens of a country by eliminating murderers who may threaten an entire population. By so doing, future crimes are controlled today. With objective decision making, capital punishment has more advantages than demerits and should be embraced in the society.
Allen, H., Clubb, J. & Lacey, V. (2008). Race, class and the death penalty: capital punishment in American history. New York: State University.
Beck, E., Britto, S. & Angrews, A. (2009). In the shadow of death: Restorative justice and death row families. Oxford: University Press.
Goldberg, J. (2011). Why death-penalty opponents can’t win. Retrieved on 25 April, 2013 from:
Perlin, M. (2013). Mental disability and the death penalty: The shame of the states. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.