The law and the society have put in place punishments aimed at averting crimes and give justice. Over generations, the society has meted out the death penalty as a means to deter murder crimes. The death penalty is the most severe punishment through legally inflicting death to a person who has violated the criminal law. This paper presents against the death penalty by demonstrating that it fails to deter crime, is a violation of human rights and does not provide closure to the grieving families.
The death penalty does not deter crime in the society. According to North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to Death Penalty (NCCADP), “there is limited evidence to prove that executions reduce crime.” NCCADP noted that failure by the state to carry out a single execution between 2006 and 2012 is proof that the society is seeing no direct correlation between the death penalty and deterrence. Research by the Death Information Center has demonstrated that there was a lower level of crime in states that fail to enforce the death penalty (DPIC 3). The notion that death penalty has the power to deter crime is, therefore naïve since it has been proven false by studies on crime especially when the perpetrator is on drugs. Being on drugs robs one of the ability to judge the impact of one’s actions.
Secondly, the imposition of the death penalty is a violation of a human right; the right to life. Human rights are also against inhumane and degrading treatments regarding torture and punishment. The death penalty is, therefore incompatible with the human rights and dignity. There has also been discrimination in the manner in which the death penalty has been applied in the society. Amnesty International noted that “the defendant was several times more likely to be sentenced to death if the murder victim was white.” The human rights charter obligates the state to “respect, protect, and to fulfill human rights” (Center for Constitutional Rights 3). By imposing a death penalty, the state deprives the violators the fundamental human right which is supposed to protect.
Proponents of the death penalty argue that the death penalty is required when one takes the life of another. However, this Hammurabi’s type of justice or an “eye for an eye” form of justice would lead to an anarchic form of society. Moreover, such a system is just another word for revenge and does not give the victim’s family any closure (Caplan 1). Vengeance is a natural feeling for man but is should have no place in our justice system. The society needs a more measured response in deterring crime that the death penalty does not provide.
Subjecting a person to death goes contrary to the belief that the state should guarantee its people the right to life. Retribution and justice should be served to the victims of violent crimes. However, the state should not carry out this exercise in a manner that brings about anarchy and barbarism. The disadvantaged groups also are at risk due to the arbitrariness nature of imposing the death penalty. Correction facilities have proved sufficient in administering punishment and retribution. It is for these reasons that this essay sought to have the death penalty abolished. There is no better way to offer retribution to the family of the victims of crimes such as murder, other than the thought that the perpetrators gets to regret their actions over the rest of their lives.
Caplan, Lincoln. “The Random Horror of the Death Penalty.” The New York Times 7 Jan. 2012. Print.
Center for Constitutional Rights. The Death Penalty is a Human Rights Violation: An Examination of the Death Penalty in the U.S. from a Human Rights Perspective. CCR Death Penalty Factsheet, 2012. Print.
DPIC. "Facts about the death penalty." 1 April 2016. Death Penalty Information Center. 4 April 2016. Print.
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