Methods of Capital Punishment : Overview of the methodology of capital punishment including various methods currently employed by the US.

Essay by suprafanHigh School, 10th gradeA-, April 2003

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Capital punishment, which is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating a criminal law is the most controversial penal practice in the modern world today. Throughout history it has held various methods and forms including crucifixion, stoning, drowning, burning at the stake, impaling, and beheading. In 2002 seventy one inmates were executed under capital punishment, seventy of those executions were carried out via leathal injection (and one by eletrocution). Death by lethal injection, intravanious dilevery of three deadly drugs,occurs within approximatly seven minuites and is realitively painless. This meathod is seen as most humane as the first drug administered, sodium thiopental, renders the inmate unconcious -- only then is the the second drug, pancuronium bromide,administeed to relax the muscles and stop breathing and the third drug, potassium chloride, to stop the heart. Electrocution is the second most common method of capital punishment, although in past few years it has been reduced in use by refinement of the leathal injeccion procedure.

It employs hight voltage currents which are passed through the condemed person's body via eletrodes attached to critical sections of the body. Its recent unpopularity has been aided by physiological implications of it's procedure such as severe burns suffered by inmates as well as scorched equipment. The temperature of the electrodes in contact with the inmates skin reach 1900 degrees celcius, and the brain (heavily sheilded and seperated by the blood-brain barrier) reaches boiling point -- such findings are leading doubts as to the humanity of electrocution. An alternate method which has not been recently employed, yet remains oficially a meathod of capital punishment in the united states, is by hdrocyanic gas. Death by inhalation of toxic gas was first used in Nevada in 1924, since then the gas chamber has been much improved, valve control allows...