Paper Due Date

Published: 2023-01-04
Paper Due Date
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Company Management Philosophy Religion
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1987 words
17 min read

A death penalty is a form of punishment that involves taking away the life of a person found guilty of committing certain types of crimes. ("Why Amnesty Opposes the Death Penalty Without Exception") It is a severe form of punishment that is characterized by intense brutal actions after the criminal has been brought in front of a jury and declared guilty after substantial evidence has been presented by the prosecutor. (Throsten) The death penalty is still a practice that exists till date even with the numerous efforts by social activists to try and get rid of it. The death penalty began long ago and dates back to the eighteenth century where the then ruler of Babylon king Hammurabi, was notorious for applying the death penalty to those ruled out as criminals in the eyes of the law. The first form of this punishment was through hanging a person which involved a person being tied to a rope from their necks and subjected to a force which then strangled them to death.

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Britain is among the very first nations to popularize this form of execution and they often passed a number of laws that clearly stated these types of crimes were liable to this punishment. Apart from hanging, brutal methods such as burning someone alive, beheading them and boiling them are just but a few methods that were constantly used by these states to get rid of their criminals. In the age of colonialism, Britain was able to spread this form of punishment to its different colonies that ended up picking up this practice and is also known to be the greatest influencers of the United States adopting to the death penalty. (Banner) Even though the number of crimes that were assigned this form of punishment was reduced, the question on whether or not this is a right approach to fighting crime has been raised constantly throughout history. ("History of The Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center") This makes it a huge humanitarian problem that needs to be analyzed and addressed critically.

According to statistics, China is currently the leading country when it comes to the death penalty. ("BBC - Ethics - Capital Punishment: Introduction") Approximately eleven years ago which is in 2008, the total number of people that were sentenced to death amounted to 7,003. Out of this, China was responsible for 1,718 executions. (Lu, and Miethe) 2008 was a significant year since records indicate that 25 out of 59 countries that believe in the death sentence executed a number of their criminals that were charged with major offenses. As a result, the United Nations decided to step in and make changes to the world since these practices raised significant concerns to the public in general. This body proposed that countries freeze these operations and eventually end up abolishing the practice completely. The involvement of the United Nations is a huge indication of how serious this matter is. (Brownlie et al.) As early as the 19th-century people had already begun forming movements that were meant to counter this form of punishment. (Throsten) In the year 1961, a body by the name Amnesty International was formed and its major aim was to make the world more sensitive to human rights. It is also on the forefront when it comes to campaigning against the death penalty in several countries. In addition to this, there are a number of cases whereby social activists' groups have intervened to rescue people that have been sentenced to death especially those that have not been rightfully convicted. As people from different parts of the world unit to contest this form of punishment, a day was marked on the 10th of October 2006. (Brownlie et al.) This date would mark the annual World's day against the death penalty. Over the years this form of execution has undergone significant changes.

First of all, in the past, these kinds of executions were carried out in the open for the public to see. The main aim of doing this was to instill fear to the people thus making them avoid being caught doing acts that the state deemed illegal. ("Why Amnesty Opposes the Death Penalty Without Exception") In certain countries such as Britain, an offense as minor as cutting down a tree would result in someone into being subjected to the death penalty. This even resulted in some of the judges failing to convict some of the offenders that were brought in to be judged. The need for adjustments was inevitable and soon, changes that were a bit more sensitive were made. Currently, the only type of crimes that can result in the death penalty is rape, murder, treason and a certain degree of violence and theft. This helped in reducing the huge list that was provided for crimes that were liable for punishment through this method. In addition to this, the tendencies of openly carrying out executions were banned and it was argued that trauma is not a good way of avoiding crime. ("Why Amnesty Opposes the Death Penalty Without Exception") Acts such as beheading are not a common practice in recent years and methods such as lethal injections have been used and proven to be less painful to the criminals. The United States also came up with the electric hair method whereby a person was strapped and subjected to a certain level of voltage until their bodies could not take in any more electricity. ("Why Amnesty Opposes the Death Penalty Without Exception") Nations worldwide also began to be more sensitive on people such as children and the disabled.

Juvenile offenders a while back were not excluded in this form of punishments and judgment was passed onto them just like normal grown citizens. ("Developments in The Death Penalty - Findlaw") This form of punishment is prohibited in the eyes of international law but some countries are still seen executing juvenile criminals. Children found guilty of the crimes regarded as worthy of the death penalty were immediately executed with no one to challenge this form of injustice except the general public that is normally seen disputing this form of practice. This has raised numerous concerns on how well International law is respected and the need to abolish these executions among children. In the year 1990 countries such as the United States, China, Congo, Iran, and Nigeria were documented as having been part of the countries that believed in sentencing children to a death penalty. ("Developments in The Death Penalty - Findlaw") The other group that was also given an exception recently was people that suffered from a mental disability. ("Developments in The Death Penalty - Findlaw") It is obvious that most of these people are not always aware of their actions at times and in the process, they might end up getting involved in certain wrongdoings that are unacceptable in the eyes of the law. As early as the 19th century this form of punishment was banned among people suffering from any form any mental defects either before the crime was committed or even after in the case a criminal was under death row.

Apart from the general public groups such as religions have also shared their concerns when it comes to the death penalty. (Grasmick et al.) Being an influential phenomenon in the world religion plays the role when it comes to influencing the perceptions of the general public on a number of matters. (Grasmick et al.) Religions such as the National Evangelicals which has a huge following claim that the Bible does not in any way dispute these forms of executions and there is no need to condemn and abolish them. ("History of The Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center") The decision is only for the relevant law to handle and this means that religion should not interfere with such matters. However, religions such as the Roman Catholic have expressed their concerns over these executions and have urged countries worldwide to avoid them as much as possible. There are a number of people that have been able to justify the death penalty based on advantages that they have derived from this form of punishment.

First of all, it is argued that the death penalty does a good job of helping the public to avoid committing intense crimes such as rape and murder. For most people that propose this method stay relevant till this date, they base their argument on the fact that people are less likely to commit a crime that they just witnessed a person get killed for. (Lombardo) This will thus help reduce the number of people that are likely to take the same unlawful path such as the victim. People also argue that by sentencing people to death, the government ends up saving a lot of funds that were to be used in prisons to oversee the welfare of the criminals in terms of food and medication. (Lombardo) Other people argue that by sentencing hard criminals to a death penalty is exactly what they deserve. For some criminals, they often tend to go back to their old ways immediately after they are released for certain offenses. This means that ending their lives through lethal injection or death by a rifle is a proper sentence that will greatly suit their actions.

The demerits of this form of sentence have also been deduced by people and each one of them serves as their main argument in the campaign against the death penalty. First of all, this form of sentence does not completely prevent people from committing crimes. (Lombardo) The fact that people with mental issues are not subjected to such sentences men that these people are not able to fear and distance themselves from committing crimes that are punishable through death. There is also no evidence that the death penalty deters crime more compared to offering someone a life sentence in prison. Another argument that has been brought onboard as a disadvantage of the death penalty is that it is inhumane and irreversible. (Lombardo) Once a person has been sentenced to death there is no going back and changing the action. Having to take a person's life is not a human thing to do and this has been questioned by very many social activists. The power of taking a human's life is not supposed to be given to a fellow human since everyone believes in equality. The death penalty can also result to punish the wrong offenders especially if the person pressing charges wants to have revenge on the person. (Lombardo) In some countries such as Sudan, this method has been used in political vendetta and innocent lives have been taken away in the name of revenge. There have also been cases of wrongful conviction that have resulted in the victims dying over a great mistake or an intentional action by someone harboring ill intentions towards the victims.

All in all, the death penalty raises different emotions among the general public. For some, it is a reasonable act while for others it is a devious act that needs to be put to a stop. It is should however be noted that the main aim as to why criminals are normally sentenced to jail terms is to change their behaviors and try to rectify the perceptions of the world. Therefore, the death penalty is an unreasonable sentence and should be abolished worldwide. A person is only able to change while they are still alive and not when they are six feet deep in the ground.


"BBC - Ethics - Capital Punishment: Introduction". Bbc.Co. Uk, 2019,

"Developments In The Death Penalty - Findlaw". Findlaw, 2019,

"History Of The Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center". Deathpenaltyinfo.Org, 2019,

"Why Amnesty Opposes The Death Penalty Without Exception". Amnesty.Org, 2019,

Banner, Stuart. The Death Penalty: An American History. Harvard University Press, 2009.

Brownlie, Ian,...

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