Capital Punishment

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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Countries which use the death penalty tend not to have an independent legal system, and tend to be authoritarian, with the exception of the United States. The death penalty is seen as a deterrent, a punishment and prevents murderers from committing crimes again. But there are not strong evidence to support these statements and there is also a danger that innocent people could be killed. There are many questions that result from the argument on capital punishment. Does this punishment really have those desirable consequences its advocates have claimed for it? Is it true that through the threat of this punishment the most serious crimes can be prevented? One thing I know for sure and that is that violent death at the hands of the executioner is the worst thing that can happen to a human being.

Capital punishment has been abolished by all the big democracies except the United States, Japan and India.

For large parts of the world it is now treated as barbaric and unjustified even for the very worst criminals. Ever since Cesare Beccaria proposed and end to the death penalty it has been a topic of continuous debate. He said that when it comes to deterring people from breaking the law by means of punishment, it is not so much the intensity of punishment that does the job, as its duration.

The commonest argument for the death penalty is that it deters murder. But numerous studies have failed to establish that execution deters better that a long prison term. On the contrary, most evidence shows that these two punishments are about equally effective as deterrents to murder. (Internet) Another thing is that there is always the possibility for an innocent person to be executed. And this risk is not zero.

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