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Death Penalty

Essay by   •  October 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,687 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,537 Views

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An issue that has continually created tension in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. Whenever the word "death penalty" comes up, extremists from both sides start yelling out their arguments. One side says deterrence, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice, retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. Crime is an evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. Most people know the threat of crime to their lives, but the question lies in the methods and action in which it should be dealt with. In several parts of the world, the death penalty has been apportioned to those who have committed a variety of offenses from the time of ancient Babylon to present-day America. The Roman Empire made use of the death penalty liberally, as did the Church of the Middle Ages. As history tells us, capital punishment, whose definition is "the use of death as a legally sanctioned punishment," is an acceptable and efficient means of deterring crime. Today, the death penalty remains an effective method of punishment for murder and other heinous crimes.

There is debate over the morals and effectiveness of such a harsh sentence. Most commonly, the death penalty is challenged as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which says that the U.S. cannot use "cruel and unusual" punishment. Due to the fact that "punishment" is a legal infliction of suffering, it must be somewhat "cruel." As for being unusual, it is anything but, due to the long history of its usage. People will plunder, take advantage of others, and commit crimes as long as it is in their best interest to do so. The purpose of our entire criminal justice system is to protect the rights of life, liberty, and property for all its citizens. To do this, the punishment for crime must be harsh enough to deter potential criminals. Under this mindset, the death penalty makes perfect sense. Here is a punishment that truly makes a criminal pay for his crime, stops the criminal from committing it again, and deters other criminals from committing the same crime.

The punishment for murder is getting to be shorter and shorter. A judge could sentence a man to life in prison. That same man could be out of jail with 15 years. How has life in jail become known as ten to fifteen years? If the judge says life with no parole, then the criminal could stay in jail a bit longer, but that would mean the state and it's voters would have to take care of the prisoner for twenty to twenty five years. How can we trust the murderers and thieves of our country to a judicial system that will either let them out in ten years or have us take care of them for twenty years, and then let them go? The criminals do not fear the punishment anymore, because they know they will not die. Punishment is meant to give justice to the wrongdoer and to keep him from doing it again. I am not saying we execute all of the criminals in the world, but it has to remain an option for the courts to use and to scare the criminals of the country. Many criminals don't fear the judicial system. They know that they will get out in ten years if they murder someone. They are not afraid of jail or their punishment. How can we force them to stop killing or stealing if they are not afraid of the punishment we give them. Most rational men are afraid of death. They don't want to die. There are also men that don't fear death, but enjoy killing. They must be controlled, but if they are sentenced to life, they are soon free to kill again. Again, I am not saying we should kill all the men in jail and any other criminal in the world. That is not the answer either, but we must have the death penalty as an option so that they will be afraid to break the law, and to control those who don't fear death but love to break the law.

While attorneys are protecting the rights of the accused, the family of the victim often gets lost in the legal proceedings. While the accused is protected by laws and is the center of the scuffle between various lawyers, the mourning family receives little more than the media circus for their grief. They receive inadequate compensation for their loss, but with a death penalty, they can at least be assured that that person who murdered their loved one will never kill again. Capital punishment should remain in use and delivered more frequently. Only too often are death penalties reduced to life sentences or less and more condemned inmates die in death row than by execution. The effectiveness of capital punishment rests largely on

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