The survival of any civilization hinges on the establishment of laws and codes of conduct and the subsequent obeying of the same by the society’s members. Due to the fact that not all members of the society are going to follow the law on their own accord, forms of punishment for wrongs done may be used both for retribution and deterrence purposes. In the United States, capital punishment has been used as the most harsh form of retribution for the society’s most vicious offences.
However, not all people believe that the death sentence is justifiable notwithstanding the brutality of the crime that a person may have perpetrated. This paper argues that the death penalty is not only necessary but also the most efficient means for deterring future offenders. The paper will reinforce this proposition by delving into the merits of the death penalty.
A case for the Death Penalty
An article on “Public Support for the Death Penalty” indicates that the support for capital punishment has risen over the years with 77% of Americans supporting capital punishment. While this statistics do not in any way offer justification for the death penalty, they do show that many Americans are of the opinion that the death penalty is a just retribution for the evils perpetrated by the accused.
In most of the states, capital punishment is only issued when the accused party is convicted of crimes such as first degree murder or treason. Capital punishment therefore affords the federal state with a means of dispensing justice. The public and the parties affected by the accused actions can therefore find some solace in the fact justice has been served.
The most desirable function of punishments should be to act as a deterrence to would be criminals. In an ideal environment, punishments should never have to be executed but their mere presence should cause all to abide to the rules and regulations in place therefore peacefully coexist. Capital punishment presents the highest level of deterrence since death is indeed the ultimate punishment. This is especially so in cases where the criminal feels immune to the other forms of punishment such as restriction on freedom of movement or even hard labor.
“Televised Executions” indicates that executions, in this case televised ones, serviced an important social purpose of deterrence as the public is afforded a glimpse as to the fate that awaits those who engage in despicable acts thus making would be future offenders think twice about the results of their acts.
According to “Update: Death Penalty”, one of the most unique attributes of capital punishment is that it irrevocably protects the society from repeat offenders. This is an especially significant point since convicts have been known to reenter society either as a result of parole or more dramatic happenings such as jail breaks.
The death penalty ensures that some of the society’s most vicious criminals; murderers, arsons, etc. are rid off the society for good. The society can therefore continue without fear of there undesirable elements every coming back and causing chaos.
From an economic point on view, the cost of maintaining prisoners in the correctional facilities is fairly expensive. Opponents of the death penalty propose that in its place, life imprisonment without parole should be implemented. What this boils down to is that the prisoner will have to be maintained in the penitentiary for his entire life. This is a very costly affair and the brunt of it is bore by the taxpayer.
Capital punishment as executed by methods such as the lethal injection is not only radically cheaper but it also spares the state of the resources it would have utilized to ensure that the prisoner is maintained for a lifetime. While most of the opponents of the death penalty point to its execution being inhumane and hence torturous to the victim, a report on “lethal injection” indicates that not only is the lethal injection method (which is greatly favored by most states) almost entirely painless but the method presents a great advancement from past methods such as hanging and the use of the gas chamber. As such, capital punishment provides a cheap and human and relatively human method of dealing with criminals.
This paper has argued that the death penalty possess numerous advantages that make it a necessary tool in the justice system. It has been articulated that through the death penalty, retribution is served and the society is purged off its most vicious criminals. In addition to this, capital punishment presents the strongest form of deterrence to would be offenders as an example is made of those who have already been convicted.
While some people do contend that the death penalty should never be imposed on anyone, regardless of their crimes, it can be authoritatively stated from the above discussions that capital punishment does serve a significant role in the society and as such, it’s use should be perpetuated albeit with a lot of caution so as to avoid subjecting innocent parties to this ultimate form of punishment.
“Lethal Injection.” Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 19 Oct. 2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. http://www.2facts.com/article/i1200570
“Public Support for the Death Penalty Remains Strong (sidebar).” Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 29 Dec. 1995. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. http://www.2facts.com/article/ib100940
“Televised Executions.” Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 11 May 2001. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. http://www.2facts.com/article/i0600920
“Update: Death Penalty.” Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 1 Apr. 2004. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. http://www.2facts.com/article/i0502000