For decades the death penalty has been an emotional and almost unmentionable issue that has affected people in many different ways. 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 person; one says justice, retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder. Regardless of people’s philosophic points of view, it is important to be aware of the facts. This is exactly what I would like to talk about in this essay: the facts regarding this controversial issue. I do not have the answer to this question; I believe both viewpoints ...view middle of the document...
Hanging was the usual sentence. (Reggio, M. 2005) Since then a death penalty was a regular punishment for severe crimes. There were times when abolitionist movement tried to revoke the death penalty in United States. They succeeded in some cases, in some they did not. They have not stopped trying. As for now there are thirty five States that do have death penalty, Kansas included. (Reggio, M. 2005)
As I said before there are lots of arguments about this issue. 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. Proponents of the death penalty though argue that due to the fact that "punishment" is a legal infliction of suffering, any punishment can be considered cruel in some way. As for being unusual, they believe, it is anything but, due to the long history of its usage. Here is the fact: the Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is not a per se violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on “cruel and unusual punishment”. The Eighth Amendment does require certain procedures to take place regarding when a jury may use the death penalty and how it must be carried out. (Hall, C. 2011)
The Eighth Amendment analysis requires that courts consider the evolving standards of decency to determine if a particular punishment constitutes a cruel or unusual punishment. When considering evolving standards of decency, courts both look for objective factors to show a change in community standards and also make independent evaluations about whether the statute in question is reasonable. (Gray, J. 2011) Some people, for example, usually are not considered eligible for a death penalty. (But again this can be argued). The Supreme Court determined that executing mentally retarded criminals violates the ban on "cruel and unusual punishments" because their mental handicap lessens the severity of the crime and therefore renders the extraordinary penalty of death as disproportionately severe. Additionally, juvenile criminals cannot be subjected to death penalty. Most could agree that teenagers lack maturity and responsibility, have greater vulnerability to negative influences, and incomplete character development. (Death Penalty: An Overview. 2010)
Typically, proponents of the death penalty present five justifications for its implementation: (1) reducing to zero the chances that the offender will return to society; (2) closure for the victims’ families; (3) deterrence against future violations by other offenders; (4) The financial aspects of the whole situation; and (5) rightful societal vengeance (often cited as “an eye for an eye”). (Gray, J. 2011)I would like to address both sides of the argument.
Pro death penalty.
Proponents of the death penalty believe that capital punishment is necessary to make sure that justice is served. It is not revenge but closure for the victim’s family. It prevents criminals who have already been convicted of...