THE ETHICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
The word “capital” in “capital punishment” refers to a person’s head. Capital punishment is the punishment given to the guilty by the state on a specific crime after a proper legal trail in the court. The punishment could be execution also known as “death penalty”. The punishment can only be issued by a state and a group or entity (a non-state organization) in accordance with proper laws relating to the commenced crime (Salvatore et al., 2001).
The first known infliction of death penalty was given in American Jamestown Colony in 1608. During the time period of revolutionary war, capital punishment was a widely acceptable practice. However, after the war ...view middle of the document...
The criminal is given tranquillizers and pain killers before carrying out the execution. According to some law making authorities this method is practiced because it is made less painful for the criminal and more painful for the onlookers for deterrence (Wennerlind, 2004).
In Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, crime rate has been controlled to great extent by executing (cutting their head from sword) or punishing in front of citizens so that they are aware of the consequences of committing such a crime. While other countries strictly condemn this act by saying that executing criminals in front of everybody frightens them as well as it is against ethical standards. According to Amnesty International, 141 countries have ended executions either in law or in practice by May 2012. In 2008, China leaded by 1,718 executions. Iran executed 346 prisoners, the USA 111, Saudi Arabia 102 and Pakistan 36 (Mazzochi, 2010). On the contrary, countries like Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom have completely abolished the practice of capital punishment.
The support towards the abolishment of capital punishment is gradually on an increase. The United Nations adopted a resolution in 2008 that calls for freezing the executions which may eventually lead to complete abolishment. In 2002, World Coalition against the Death Penalty was founded in Rome. 10th October, 2006 was the World day against Death Penalty (Sculier, 2010). Nonetheless, whether death penalty should be abolished or not, it is a great debate. Some people support the idea by calling it retribution or saying that every guilty person must be punished according to the severity of the crime he committed and every person needs to be punished for his evildoings or as in the case of murder, the punishment should be death. However, the others call it vengeance instead and argue that capital punishment is morally and ethically a doubtful concept.
Some countries support the argument by stating that executing one guilty person deters others from committing the crime in the future while others counter it by saying that sometimes crimes are committed in an emotional state of mind and in such times one is not aware of the consequences he may have to face for his deed. It also happens that some people end up committing capital crimes due to mental illnesses and should not be held responsible for the act keeping in view that they were not consciously aware of what they were doing. Some supporters of capital punishment argue that capital punishment is advantageous even if it has no preventive effect (Ewing, 2013). While in some countries plea bargaining is used in which a criminal gets a reduced sentence in exchange for providing help to the police which may be somehow beneficial for police. The prisoner has the strongest possible incentive to try to get his sentenced reduced where the possible sentence is death or to get life imprisonment instead.