Capital Punishment


Electric chair, gas chambers, and lethal injection, usually when we hear these words we tend to say, “Oh they deserve it.”


What is bad enough to deserve death? Are there certain crimes that do and then some that do not? Almost every culture through out history has relied on capital punishment and justified it as necessary to maintain order. The only thing that has changed over time are the crimes deemed punishable and the methods used to carry out the punishment. In ancient Persia, one method of execution involved being eaten alive by insects and vermin. Other methods included chopping of limbs, boiling in oil, burning at the stake and pressings. Methods of execution have varied from crucifixion in the middle-ages to electrocution and lethal injection in the modern era. Electrocution abolishes the functions of the brain, heart, and nerves by overwhelming the bioelectrical basis of the metabolism, and lethal injection uses the drugs, thiopental sodium and potassium chloride which paralyze the heart. However less barbaric than in ancient times some of the methods used to kill nowadays, are often more brutal than those used by the criminal. (BROUCHURE) Many countries have now abolished capital punishment considering it cruel and unusual punishment, and are often reluctant to extradite perpetrators. Yet many countries still enforce it, some still using ancient methods. It costs three times the amount to keep a prisoner on death row than it would to keep them in the prison for life. Today the argument is whether or not the death penalty is morally right. Do we really have the right to kill those who have killed? When we find someone guilty of murder and sentence him to death, do we not make murderers out of ourselves? Is the death penalty a “Cruel and Unusual” punishment or is it a necessary tool in the war on crime?


There are three major issues in the capital punishment debate:


Deterrence: This suggests that a rational person will avoid criminal behavior if the severity of the punishment outweighs the benefits of the illegal conduct, yet study after study have failed to demonstrate any measurable deterrent effect.


The second issue:


Retribution: This suggests vengeance, that society should literally interpret the “eye for an eye” principal, when an individual takes a life, the victim and society’s moral balance will remain upset until the killer’s life is taken. Many words are used in place of "retribution," such as "justice," "atonement," or "deserve." However, the heart of the argument is the same: the belief that the taking of a life (or some such crime) requires us to take the life of the murderer, whether for their good or the good of society.


The third issue:


Wrongful Conviction: The third debate involves the danger of mistake. The unique thing about capital punishment is that it is final and irreversible, in the past, there have been many people wrongfully executed for crimes that they did not commit, all in the name of justice. It has happened that after the execution, the real murderer confessed to elevate his guilty conscience. “No matter how careful courts are, the possibility of perjured testimony, mistaken honest testimony, and human error remain all too real. We have no way of judging how many innocent people have been executed.” –J. Marshall Bailey, 1994...


Capital punishment is mentioned in the Holy Koran as well as in the Old Testament as a form of retaliation (qisas). "And we prescribe for them therein the life for a life, the eye for the eye, the nose for the nose, the ear for the ear, the tooth for the tooth, and for wounds of retaliation. But whosoever forgives it (in the way of charity); it shall be expiation for him. In the New Testament it says, “Whoever strikes a man a mortal blow must be put to death.” (Exodus 21:12). The questions you have to ask yourself is that, is the death penalty just or is it a legalized from of murder? Does the death penalty actually prevent crimes? Of course, a person may think it is moral or immoral to kill someone no matter what they have done. I personally don’t believe capital punishment belongs in a civilized society. I believe in reform not retribution, when said “it is retributive justice to take a