Capital Punishment - The Pros and Cons

Essay by SeanMcQHigh School, 12th gradeA, March 2003

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Capital Punishment is the legal infliction of the death penalty. This is implemented if someone is found guilty of committing a capital offence. This is crime punishable by death. The main crimes that result in capital punishment are murder and treason. There is a difference between murder and manslaughter. Manslaughter is when someone kills another person but the murder is thought to be unintentional and the death penalty is not used for this. Murder is when the killing is intentional and pre-meditated and if found guilty of this crime, you can be sentenced to death.

At the end of the 18th Century, efforts to abolish the death penalty gained momentum. This reform was lead by the Quakers. In the 1400's, English law recognised seven major crimes; Treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape and arson. Methods of punishment were; Crucifixion, burning in oil, drawing and quartering, impalement, beheading, burning alive, crushing, tearing asunder, stoning and drowning.

The death penalty in the UK was finally abolished in November 1965.

Although, the death penalty was never abolished in the USA and now the death penalty is currently authorised in five ways; hanging, electrocution, the gas chamber, firing squad or lethal injection

The fundamental questions raised by the death penalty is whether or not it is an effective deterrent to violent crimes and whether it is more effective than the alternative of a long term imprisonment.

People against the death penalty argue that it can be used in a prejudicial way, because more black people are executed than white people. Also, adjacent states in which one has the death penalty and the other does not, show no significant long term difference in the murder rate, and, states that's abolish and then re-introduce the death penalty do not seem to show any significant change in the...