Capital Punishment

Essay by nani1612University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2002

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"Capital Punishment is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law". Almost every culture through out history has relied on the death penalty and justified it as necessary tool to maintain order. The United States is the only Western industrialized nation where executions still take place. The USA is one of the 90 countries with the death penalty. The death penalty is imposed in 38 states and for certain federal crimes. There is a big controversy over capital punishment whether or not it works, or if it is morally right. People have been using "an eye for an eye, a life for a life" regularly for centuries. It has been used in reference to burglar, adultery, love, and many other situations. One steals from those who have stolen from him, one wrongs those who have wronged him, but does society really have the right to kill those who have killed? The answer is "no".

The state murdering people because of their crimes simply does not equate to justice. Life is so precious that nobody should ever be killed, even by the state. Citizens have a certain privilege on their own lives, but the lives of others do not belong to them as well. The means do not justify the ends. Therefore, the death penalty is not a justifiable means of punishment.

The first established death penalty law was in the Eighteenth Century B.C., which codified the death penalty for 25 different crimes. Death sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. By the 1700s, 222 crimes were punishable by death in Britain, including stealing, cutting down a tree, and robbing a rabbit warren. The death penalty arrived in America with the English, whose laws ruled the...