Capital Punishment

Essay by happy_xyz_1231 April 2004

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Capital punishment has a long history. In the 18th century, people were executed for stealing a bolt of cloth (Crime and punishment, 1994). Today, 112 counties in the world have abolished capital punishment in law or practice (Use of the death penalty worldwide, 2004). Capital punishment is a controversial problem. Some people think we should have capital punishment. However, the counter-arguments seem to be much more powerful. Therefore, people should consider that capital punishment would be a faulty and inhumane policy, so we should get rid of it.

Firstly, most people and democracies are in support of abolishing capital punishment today. For example, in America, 41% of the people prefer the death penalty (Dieter, 1993). On the other hand, 44% of the people don't agree with the death penalty. They prefer life without parole plus restitution (Dieter, 1993). Also, "Capital punishment has been abolished by all the big democracies except the United States, Japan and India.

A growing number of emerging democracies in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America have also abandoned it" (The cruel and ever more unusual punishment, 1999, p.2). According to the opinion of most democracies and people, the government should get rid of capital punishment.

Secondly, the death penalty may lead innocent people to die. For example, Madison Hobley was sentenced capital punishment because of the murder of his wife, his one son and five people in an arson case in America in 1987 (Bower & Sieger, 2003). After 16 years of living in a prison, he was free because he was an exonerated man (Bower & Sieger, 2003). If his lawyer can't find evidence, he would be dead. Furthermore, 87 people have been released from prisons after being sentenced to death despite their innocence due to use DNA and other evidence in...