Capital Punishment Essay

1532 words - 7 pages

Capital Punishment Capital Punishment is the most effective deterrent to anyone thinking of committing a serious crime such as premeditated first degree murder. Capital punishment may seem harsh, but a comprehensive study in the United States indicates that it makes a person think twice before committing such a serious crime, and therefore actually saves lives. Here is a brief history of the death penalty and it's application. The earliest historical records show that capital punishment was mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi in 1750 BC. The bible used death as a punishment for more than thirty different crimes, such as murder, rape, theft, adultery etc. In the 7th century ...view middle of the document...

There have been many protests against this decision. However, as it stands now, we have no capital punishment. The harshest punishment that can given, is the convicted criminal receives a maximum life sentence of twenty five years in jail. This sentencing has been weakened considerably by the "faint hope clause," which was implemented in July 1997. This means that those serving life terms for second degree murder may be eligible for parole when they've served as little as ten years, or forty percent of their sentence. Offenders convicted of high treason, first degree murder, killing police officers or prison guards, who were initially sentenced to twenty-five years in prison with no eligibility for parole, may now apply for a judicial review after serving fifteen years. Under these circumstances it should not be surprising that Canadian public opinion polls consistently reveal that the majority of the population favors reinstatement of capital punishment. (John Howard Society of Alberta 1998.) Rare exceptions to the foregoing are those criminals who have been designated as "dangerous offenders." Clifford Olsen and Paul Bernardo are two such individuals whose crimes were so deliberately evil that they are beyond the understanding of normal people. However, Dangerous Offender status is also open to appeal, and these criminals too may one day be released to live among us. The subject of capital punishment raises the questions: Is it really a deterrent to violent crime? Is it more effective than the alternative of long term imprisonment? In the United States where a study was published by Stephen K. Layson at the University of North Carolina, it showed that every execution of a murderer deters, on average, 18 murders. The study has shown that raising the number of death sentences by one percent would prevent 105 murders. However, only 38 percent of all murder cases result in a death sentence, and of those, only 0.1 percent are actually executed." (geocities.com/area51/capsule/2698/cp.html#life.) To compare a life sentence to capital punishment, then you must take into account the possible killings of prison guards and other inmates, and also when they kill decent citizens while on early release programs or upon escape. With the death penalty we would not have to worry about the convicted killers escaping or repeating their crimes. The death penalty would deter others from committing violent acts too. Thanks to modern science, the probability of making a mistake, is far less than it used to be. People that are against the death penalty argue that there is a great risk of putting an innocent person to death. Well in this imperfect world, citizens are required to take certain risks in exchange for relative safety. Far, far more innocent lives have been taken by convicted murderers than the possible 23 innocents mistakenly executed this century." In the United States there have been approximately 13,000 American...

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