Capital Punishment


Capital punishment is the penalty of death for crimes viewed as a violation of human dignity. Several monumental cases have affected the view of capital punishment. 1972, in the case of Furman, Supreme Court found capital punishment unconstitutional and temporary abolished it until 1976 when the Supreme Court reversed its decision and reinstated capital punishment in the Gregg Case. “Since 1972 there have been 712 executions in the United State [and] there are now 3,726 prisoners on death row awaiting capital punishment in the thirty-eight states have punishment. The most common method of execution is lethal injection; thirty-four states used this method. Electrocution is used in ten states and the gas chamber in six states. Hanging is used in two states and the firing squad is used in two states.” P.240 Some people that capital punishment violates our constitutional right not to be punished in a cruel or unusual way. Some argue that it fails to meet current changing standards of decency or respect of human life or dignity. In my paper, I will argue that capital punishment is a ineffective method of deterring crime because of its reaction based nature as oppose to proactive method of stopping violent crimes. In addition, quality of life and negligence plays a huge part of capital punishment inability to deter criminals. I agree that capital punishment does to a certain extent satisfy one of the justifications of capital punishment, which is retribution but fails on the other three justifications. (Deterrence: specific; general, Prevention, and Rehabilitation) I also agree with capital punishment in extreme case where people desecrate the human code of dignity beyond a reasonable point.


My first logical reason as to why capital punishment doesn’t deter is that most criminals are negligent to the consequences of their actions because of the inconsistency of the death penalty. The 3,746 people on death row make up 1 percent of the entire United State population. The minimal portion of the United States population eliminates the ability to deter because of the lack of media coverage and other avenues to can “spread the word” about the consequences of violent crimes. In addition, the years of appealing death sentences even further weaknesses the strength of capital punishment to deter criminals. Personally, I still haven’t heard of the affects of certain actions because of the inconsistency or lack of coverage on capital punishment. America itself seems divided because certain states don’t even enforce the death penalty. Within the same scope of the argument, long established countries like France, England, etc have abolished capital punishment. The significance of this factor is that the United States is the youngest established country in the world. This shows that with due time the United States might come to the realization that capital punishment doesn’t prevent violent crimes. America’s taboo with drugs and murder has lead to higher rates of drug abuse and violent murders compared with the rest of the world.


Secondly, the desensitizing of criminals as a result of years of institutionalization and the glorification of crime and death through the media has led to a society of people who have no remorse for the people they hurt and with no regard to themselves. I am speaking from experience and it’s a harsh realization that many lawmakers don’t see first hand. There are people in my community that have committed countless violent crimes and they have no regard for human life. Their motto, “they’ll pay up when someone catches up”. I’ve heard that countless times and that statement refers to if the police ever find out what they’ve done. They always proceed with the statement that if they (the police) come after me, I’m taking as many down with me as possible. These are obviously people with no respect for the human code of dignity. Capital punishment will not deter these people because to a certain extent, they are suicidal. Also, they seek the immortality or oar that comes with death. In all actuality today’s criminals fear longer prison sentences compared with a shoot out with police and possible death or capital punishment. How do you deter these kind of people? Capital punishment does not take into effect people’s mentality and their quality of life. Also, how would