Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper
Today there is a huge controversy over capital punishment and whether or not it works, and if it is morally right. ?In America, capital punishment is only used in felony cases, such as murder. Another instance in which capital punishment would be used is if there was a felony burglary, which is an unintended murder because of a robbery.? (?The Death Penalty? pg.1) People who favor the death penalty say that the criminals deserve it and there is no other way for justice to be served. Those that oppose it say that it is immoral to sentence a person to death, and that it is racially biased it should be banished.
?There are currently thirty-seven states that have the death penalty. Even the military has the death penalty. The states that do not have the death penalty as a capital punishment, mainly those in the Midwest and Northeast, have abolished it for whatever reason. Only two states have never had the death penalty, and they include Alaska and Hawaii.? (?The Death Penalty? pg.2)
Capital punishment is justified for several reasons. First of all, it greatly discourages violent crimes, like murder and rape. Many murderers are not serving most, not even half, of the term they were sentenced to. This is due to early parole and overcrowded prisons. Secondly, if a murderer is sentenced to life imprisonment, not only does it cost the tax payers money to support him, but often their jail life is better than that of some law abiding citizens. Should we have to support someone who took the life of another? Most importantly, a person who commits murder deserves a punishment that fits the crime committed. Premeditated murder, being the most vile crime committed, calls for only one fit punishment: death.
Many criminals, including murderers, are getting released from prison before their sentence is completely served because of early parole. This release is necessary due to the overcrowding in the prisons and ?good behavior.? I think that the sentence they are given should be carried out until the last day. If people are thinking of murder, and they are aware that they will be released because of early parole, then it will not effectively deter any future crime from happening. I personally do not want any person who committed murder living anywhere near me. These people are likely to commit the same crime again, only to receive the same lenient punishment, making them a danger to society. If they were aware that committing these serious crimes would result in the death sentence, they would think before they act and the crime rate would go down a tremendous amount. This is why I see the death penalty being the only solution for the decrease of felony crimes.
An instance where a terrible crime could have been prevented was in 1992 when a man that was sentenced to fifty years in prison for murdering someone was let out on good behavior. Two years later the man was convicted of murder for the second time. If the death penalty was used, the life of an innocent person could have been saved.
A reason many people are against the death penalty is that they feel that innocent people will be wrongfully executed all in the name of justice. Some even say that it is better to let a hundred guilty men free, than to kill an innocent person. This sort of thing is protected by many safeguards, so that something like that would not happen. These safeguards guarantee protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. They are:
1. ?Capital punishment may be imposed only for crime for which the death penalty is prescribed, by law, at the time of its commission.
2. Persons below the age of eighteen, a pregnant woman, new mothers, or persons who have become mentally insane, shall not be sentenced to death.
3. The death penalty may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternate explanation of the facts.
4. Capital punishment may be carried out only after a final judgment rendered by a competent court allowing all possible safeguards to the defendant, including adequate legal assistance.
5. Anyone sentenced to death shall receive the right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.
6. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentenced.
7. Capital punishment shall not be carried out pending any appeal, recourse procedure, or proceedings related to pardon or commutation of the sentenced.
8. Also capital punishment shall be carried out so as to inflict the minimum possible suffering.? (?Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those Facing the Death Penalty? pg.1)
These safeguards will ensure that justice will be served without having someone suffer. They also keep the death penalty form being racially biased.
Let?s imagine for a moment that there was no death penalty. The only reasonable sentence would be life imprisonment. This would be costly to the tax payers, not only for the cost of housing the prisoners, but because of the numerous appeals which waste the time and money of many people. By treating criminals this way, we are almost encouraging behavior that will result in a prison sentence. If there is no threat of death to one that commits murder, than that person will be guaranteed a decent living environment, even though they are a person that took the life of another. They are definitely not getting the punishment they deserve. You have to consider the way the family of the victim will feel when they know that the person that killed their loved one is only serving a portion of their term, because they are getting out on ?good behavior.? They will never get the life of their loved one back, but the killer will get theirs back. I think that is unfair.
The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, oppose the death penalty, and are quoted for saying, ?What families of the victims really need is financial and emotional support to help them recover from their loss and resume their lives.?(?The Case Against the Death Penalty pg.1) I don?t know about you, but no amount of money will make me feel better after one of my relatives was just murdered. The victim?s family needs justice to be served, by the murderer being put to death, and not given a certain amount of money.
Murder is a crime that involves taking the life of another human being, and that act needs to be punished justly, in an effective manner that gives society the message that we are living in a just world. If capital punishment is taken away, we will not have an effective justice system and crimes against the innocent will continue. This is why capital punishment is necessary, and for those reasons that is why I am a supporter of it.