Human life cannot be treated carelessly. Right to life is undoubted and inherent. In the modern world it is guaranteed not only by international documents, but also by constitutions of democratic states. However, many countries still administrate capital punishment which, in fact, infringes this right and gives roots to sharp public discussion.
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Those who claim death penalty as a necessary part of penal system operate by numerous arguments. People, who believe the capital punishment should be abolished worldwide, do the same. Nevertheless, it is crucial to admit that fear of punishment is the main factor deterring a crime spread. The central function of every penalty is to protect society and its’ members from dangerous individuals by two means – either by isolating them or by putting them to death, and both these measures leave no chance to rectify the criminal.
In this regard, the main argument of the death penalty opponents claiming it to be inhumane, becomes less persuasive as the life sentence, often referred to as the principal alternative thereto, could hardly be a more humane sanction. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that live term in jail is in some way better than capital punishment. The sentenced criminal can do some public correctional works intended to be for the benefit of state or a victim.
Economic issue has a sound ground in this discussion, as to kill a felon is considered to be much cheaper than to keep him or her in prison. Of course, the price should not play the first role in alike situations, however the fact that all taxpayers actually pay for criminal maintenance could affect the feelings of a victim’s family. On the contrary, in case of death penalty the criminal’s relatives suffer, as it is undoubtedly a big moral shock to lose someone you love this way. Besides, it can be argued that death has more deterrent effect than the life sentence. It is proved by the fact that capital punishment is no more an open event which can be attended by everyone in order to make people aware of the “cost” of crime. Today, strict control over who may witness an execution is characteristic of every death penalty jurisdiction (“The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies” 5).
Partially, it is the achievement of international human rights organizations that fight for absolute abolishment of death punishment. Of course, judges who are entitled to render a decision on capital penalty should be unconditionally trusted, which is nowadays a big challenge for those states where alike punishment still exists. Moreover, officials in several countries may use this measure to get rid of their political rivals. Amnesty International in the Report on 2011 remained concerned that, in the majority of countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the death penalty was imposed after proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards, often based on “confessions” that were allegedly extracted through torture or other duress (8). These facts do not contribute to making the judicial system reliable and fair.
Anyway, it is essential to realize that the debate on the death penalty will never end and it might be better not just to discuss how to make the penal system effective, but to seek for measures aimed at eliminating crimes’ reasons of social, political and religious nature.
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