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The Death Penalty Is Not The Answer

2350 words - 10 pages

In a society where there is so much violent crime. We look for a way to try to ensure our safety and protect the ones we love. We use many forms of punishment as a way to deter crime. The most extreme of these is the death penalty it is final and leaves no way to correct any mistakes if made. The death penalty is not the answer to violent crimes; it is a very old form of punishment that offers no deterrent to crime. “There can no longer be any doubt that an innocent person has been executed. The question now turns to how we can stop it from happening again" (Scheck, 2009).
The death penalty being used as a form of punishment has been in use before written records. They may ask how we know ...view middle of the document...

When the British came to the new world they brought their laws with them. The first legal execution in the new world the English American colony was in 1608. George Kendall was put to death for treason against the British to the Spanish. This was the beginning in the new world. Back in the old world the cries to stop the killing by the states were going from whispers to a loud roar (Riggio, 1995-2010).
On Crimes and Punishment, published in English in 1767 by the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, whose exposition on abolishing capital punishment was the most influential of the time, had an especially strong impact. He theorized that there was no justification for the taking of life by the state. He said that the death penalty was "a war of a whole nation against a citizen, whose destruction they consider as necessary, or useful to the general good." He asked the question what if it can be shown not to be necessary or useful ? His essay conceded that the only time a death was necessary was when only one's death could insure the security of a nation -- which would be rare and only in cases of absolute anarchy or when a nation was on the verge of losing its liberty. He said that the history of using punishment by death (e.g., the Romans, 20 years of Czaress Elizabeth) had not prevented determined men from injuring society and that death was only a "momentary spectacle, and therefore a less efficacious method of deterring others, than the continued example of a man deprived of his liberty (Riggio, 1995-2010).
The push to reform the death penalty had begun and it would gain some momentum and would slow the deaths in the 1800s.New laws were passed against mandatory death sentences.
On June 29, 1972 in the case Furman v. Georgia. In nine separate opinions, but with a majority of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the way capital punishment laws were written, including discriminatory sentencing guidelines, capital punishment was cruel and unusual and violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. This effectively ended capital punishment in the United States (Riggio, 1995-2010).
On May 20, 1998 the House of Commons voted to ratify the 6th protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting capital punishment. The war over the death penalty was over or was it (Riggio, 1995-2010)? The death penalty began in Europe and in our life time it has ended there. The legacy of what started in Europe continues in the United States.
By early 1975 30 states had passed new laws and again there were prisoners on death row awaiting their fate. In 1976 Georgia’s new law was challenged in Gregg v. Georgia and was upheld by the Supreme Court, and here we are with thirty-seven states with the death penalty and five methods of execution (Riggio, 1995-2010).
Why do we have the death penalty is it to deter crime or is just for revenge? An eye for eye and tooth for tooth some say is the base for the death penalty. Studies reveal that the death penalty has...

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