Annotated Bibliography on The Death Penalty (Capital Punishment) is Inhumane

The Death Penalty (Capital Punishment) is Inhumane: Annotated Bibliography

Anonymous (2015). Cruel and increasingly unusual; lethal injection. The Economist, 417, no. 8958, 27-28.

The article presented in ‘The Economist’ described one of the common methods of executing the death sentence in the early times. The legal injection is extensively discussed, with case examples of how simple mistakes in court procedures can be the cause of wrongful administration of the death sentence. Specific cases on the use of the lethal injection are presented and analyzed in an effort to explain the disadvantages of the death penalty. From a woman who is executed for only giving out the tools of a crime that was committed in her absence to another who is sentenced to the death penalty even though every witness knows that his case is a set-up, the article provides information that is useful in determining the efficiency of the death penalty.

From the cases presented in the article, the death penalty is depicted as not only inhumane but also insensitive. The inefficiencies of the jury can be sufficient to cause the death of an innocent person. Moreover, the psychological and emotional trauma associated with the death penalty is detrimental to families.

Anonymous(b) (2007). Revenge begins to seem less sweet – Capital punishment in America; Capital punishment in America. The Economist, 384 (8544).

The article presented in The Economist provides an analysis of different state responses to capital punishment. Capital punishment is already a controversial subject in most countries. However, some states in the US still support capital punishment. States such as Texas have no controversies with the issue, as it is among the general population, where surveys on the concerns about capital punishment raise no issues. The author also discusses some of the key concerns that states in support of capital punishment should look at. Some of these concerns such as the propensity for error, racial biasness in its application and failure to reduce crimes significantly are mentioned as justifications for the opposition of capital punishment.

The role of any judicial system is not only to punish crime but also to correct the perpetrators and their ilk. Through capital punishment however, the potential for error reduces accuracy in punishing crime. Furthermore, the already dead suspects are not corrected. From the existing research, it has also been shown that capital punishment does not result in significant crime reduction. This therefore means that capital punishment results in loss of life without security implications, hence is inhumane.

Bever, L. & Moyer, J. (2014, July 28). From burning at the stake to lethal injection, how America keeps reinventing capital punishment. The Washington Post.

Capital punishment has undergone a revolution over the years, presenting methods that are considered to make it easier not only to execute sentenced persons but also for those undergoing the execution. Bever and Moyer present a detailed anthology of the death penalty, including the changes that have occurred in the mode of implementing the penalty over the years. Some of the discussed methods include the electric chair, the guillotine, the lethal injection and the firing squad. In the conclusion, the article states that among the methods that have been in use, the guillotine seemed to be the most promising in spite of the noted frequency of errors. The lethal injection was reported to be amoral in that medications that are needed by others for their health conditions are used as a mode of execution, resulting in the impression that death comes peacefully. The firing squad seemed to be the best due to the availability of executioners trained to shoot.

Through this article, the impression given is that the death penalty comes with challenges that are specific to the methods used. Each of the execution methods is associated with specific implications that would create a sense of ethical deprivation or violation of social norms. Some of the errors that occur during the process even make it more inhumane as they prolong the death experience.

Cunningham, M.D. & Reidy, T.J. (1999). Don’t confuse me with the facts: Common errors in violence risk assessment at capital sentencing. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 26(1), 20-43.

The decision to sentence a suspect to death comes following a series of legal and psychological evaluations. Cunningham and Reidy suggest that there are many probably errors in the journey towards the death penalty, which can result in wrong sentencing. First, psychiatrists focus on the application of the DSM-IV and the case facts as the basis of the decision on whether the culprit poses a danger to him/ herself and the society. Other probable errors include over reliance on base rates, misapplication of psychological testing, reliance on clinical overviews, misuse of behavior patterns, insufficient data and ignorance of aging effects among others. Each of these errors can have significant negative impacts on the death penalty.

From this article, the death penalty appears to be a challenging concept to consider. There are so many things that could go wrong and even the ignorance of the tiniest bit of information can result in undeserved execution. A well meaning judge could sentence someone to death due to the mistakes of another person in the judicial process. The best way to avoid such happenings is to eliminate the probability of the death sentence in its entirety.

Galliher, J.H. (2005). Debating the death penalty: Should America have capital punishment? Contemporary Sociology, 34(1), 60.

Galliher presents an anthology of two conflicting sides to the death penalty story. The first is that of the proponents of the death penalty, who argue that none of the opponents has a proof of any innocent person convicted wrongfully. At the same time, the proponents of the death penalty argue that some cases are too grievous that the only punishment worth administering is the death penalty. Through Galliher’s article, it is observable that the death penalty would be a subject worth supporting only by those who feel exempted from its implications. The article provides the perspective given by judge Ryan, that the death sentence is marred with discrimination. Poverty, racism, and irrationality play an essential role in the administration of the death penalty.

With the admission of a judge that capital punishment is executed discriminately, it is arguable that the death penalty is inhumane. Individuals may be sentenced to death due to their poverty or race without an in-depth consideration of their crimes. Judges such as Ryan, who recognize the biasness of the judicial system with reference to administration of the death sentence, deserve to be accorded significant respect.

Haines, H.H. (1999). Against capital punishment: The anti death penalty movement in America, 1972-1994. Oxford University Press.

In the article, Haines presents a brief description of the status of the death penalty in America relative to the rest of the world. One of the features mentioned is that the death penalty was more prevalent in America in the 1990s even when the rest of the world was putting aside the death penalty as a punishment measure for serious crimes. Americans in some states were called out by people in other countries for the fact that those states still practiced the death penalty. One of the factors mentioned as contributing to the use of the death penalty in America was the weakness of the Anti death penalty movement in the country. Another factor is the widespread support for the death penalty which is considered irreversible. The author goes further to describe the history of the abolitionist movement from the initial conception of the idea to abolish the death penalty through to the modern social movements.

Through the described history, the author provides examples of cases where the death penalty was administered on innocent individuals. Additionally he describes various concerns around the death penalty, particularly on its relevance to correction and the fact that the death penalty violates the U.S constitution. The article clearly provides a background and history to the death penalty, which can be instrumental in determining whether the death penalty is acceptable or not. Considering all factors presented, it can be concluded that the death penalty is indeed inhumane.

Kas, K., Yim, R., Traorem, S., ElFadaly, M., Lang, L., Freeman, R.A., Parmar, J.R. & Kharel, M.K. (2012). Lethal drugs in capital punishment in USA: History, present and future perspectives. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 12, 1026- 1034.

Kas et al. (2012) discuss various issues in relation to the use of lethal drugs in executing the death sentence. The authors pose the ethical concern as to whether the involvement of medical personnel in the execution process is within the ethical scope. Through the article, a description of the rationale, the process and the drugs used in lethal injections is presented. The article goes further to explore the specific medications that have been used in administering the lethal injection and their operational principles. An exploration of the limitations of the lethal injection presents various issues namely the formulation of drug compounds in pharmacies, midazolam mishaps, inadequate clinical expertise and ethical dilemmas among others.

Medical practitioners are tasked with saving lives by doing all possible to ensure that patients are attended to. The requirement that the death penalty be administered by medical practitioners in the form of a lethal injection then raises concerns about the ethical standing of the judicial system, the medical field and the government in general. With ethical concerns surrounding the process of lethal injection, it is inevitably inhumane.

Morisi, E. (2014). To kill a human being: Camus and capital punishment. South Central Review, 31(3), 43- 63.

Founded on Albert Camus’s abolitionist campaigns, the article addresses some key concerns in the capital punishment process. The use of various methodologies is discussed alongside the moral and ethical foundations of the punishment. Camus’ ideology was that the practice of capital punishment and the experience itself should be disturbing enough to shake any decent man. He described capital punishment as the way through which man legalizes his urge to kill and posited that it is against all laws of nature. Morisi  presents the arguments made by Camus as a premise to argue against capital punishment, mentioning events such as the World War II as examples of the implications of men killing men.

Through the entire article, one gets a close up on the principle and practice of capital punishment and how it not only interferes with the victims but also with those left living. Particularly to children, capital punishment or even the imagination of it can be debilitating. Anything that shakes the moral foundations and justifies killing of other men should be considered inhumane, just as the World War II was.

Reilly, A. (2011). States reconsider the death penalty. The American City & Country, 126 (3), 22.

In Reilly’s article, a report about 35 states reconsidering the modification of the death penalty to life imprisonment is presented. The article opens up information about the death penalty, that has been supported across multiple states in the US and its implications on care costs. Of concern are the costs incurred in taking care of the accused persons between the time of conviction to the time when they actually go to the execution. According to Reilly, one of the main concerns regarding the death penalty is that the victims have no room for multiple appeals as increased number of appeals increases the costs of care. The process is shortened and the costs reduced by reducing the number of allowable appeals. Additionally, states that prefer to reduce the death penalty to life imprisonment do so on the premise that the death penalty serves neither the accused, their families or even their victims.

The death penalty brings no good to the victims since in most cases, the victims of the crime are already dead. The high costs of taking care of the accused persons also increase the complexity of the death penalty. Therefore, proposing the inhumane nature of the death penalty is a justifiable argument.

Sarah, A. (2009). The road to abolition? The future of capital punishment in the United States. Charles Jr., C. (Ed.). New York University Press.

Sarah (2009) presents and overview of the road to the abolition of the death penalty. Through the book, various concepts are presented including the initial inclination towards abolition and the subsequent defenses. The book begins with a presentation of the different defenses that the executioner has used to push for the continuation of the death penalty. Through a detailed analysis of the short comings of each of the methods that have been used to execute the death penalty, the author presents counter arguments to the use of the death penalty to address crime.  As a conclusion, the author puts the death penalty in the context of the current political systems, modernism, torture and war. These factors are meant to steer the discussion further towards abolition that support for capital punishment.

In each aspect of the death penalty, there are concerns about its impacts on the society, particularly on the specific links between the penalty and the society at large. The arguments presented by Sarah all function to prove that the death penalty is indeed inhumane.

Schmaltz, A., Kim, Y., Rush, A.M. & Shieber, S.M. (n.d). Adapting sequence models for sentence correction.

The authors explore the concept of sequence to sequence sentence correction based on words and characters. From the model described, the article posits that character based sentence corrections are more effective compared to word based sentence corrections. Corrections in this regard refer to both stylistic and content revisions, which impact on the intended message. Using a computational model, the authors present both the traditional approach to sentence correction and the conventional approach to grammatical and stylistic corrections. Various objectives have also been associated with the sentence corrections, with the argument that they bring out new meanings and implications to the story.

The history of the death penalty is one that has been told through changing stories. Corrections in law have resulted in the identification of challenges and limitations of the law, the benefits of abolishing the death penalty and the importance of new measures for punishing those who are involved in serious crimes. Through the article by Schmaltz et al. therefore, it is possible to understand how changes occur in language communication and how they can affect the overall message. It is also easy to understand why syntactical and grammatical correctness is required in a serious law such as the death penalty.

Urbina, M.G. (2012). Capital punishment in America: race and the death penalty over time. LFB Scholarly Publishing, LLC.

In the article by Urbina, the author describes the status of the death penalty over time through the exemplification of data from across three states. The states of California, Florida and Texas are used to provide examples of the death penalty sentencing, clemency commutation and the general ideology of the death sentence. The article begins from the thesis that in the traditional communities, some states had higher numbers of death penalty sentences and that in most of those cases, there was a perception of racial discrimination in the administration of death sentences. The article describes different escape measures from the death sentence including through clemency and commutation. Either of these cases  depends on the process of the sentencing.

From the article, the general reflection is that the death sentence was subject to a lot of errors. Factors such as discrimination can result in biased justice system practices as shown by the evidences described. A complete support for the death sentence by all the jury members could amount to a guilty plea and subsequent punishment in a case where the only crime committed by victims is to be of a different race.