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Free «Science and the Death Penalty» Essay Sample

The second half of the 20th century through to the 21st century has witnessed a lot of developments in the society. From improvements in technology and discovery of new ways of dealing with killer diseases, the society has continued to advance in order to make the world a better place. However, irrespective of these advancements, the rate of crime has continued to rise tremendously. As a result of this, the government, through its law enforcement institutions has sought out for ways of dealing with the current rate of crime while implementing ways of deterring future criminal incidences. One of the factors that have been considered as a way of reducing or rather deterring crime in the society is the use of capital punishment. Nonetheless, there have been arguments on whether capital punishment should be implemented in the society to deal with crime. With this in mind, whereas there are people who have argued against it, capital punishment should be reinstated in Canada in order to deter future criminals and prevent repeated criminal activities or rather recidivism.



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There are a lot of critics that have emerged in the past to oppose capital punishment as a way of deterring criminal activities in the society and recidivism. In reference to Marquis (2005), those that oppose capital punishment have questioned the morality of one person executing another (501-503). More so, these opponents of capital punishment or abolitionists as they referred to themselves argued that capital punishment was immoral and more geared towards eliminating the minority in the society. With this in mind, they focus on the fact that those that committed crimes in the society were poor people and their deterring them by using this form of punishment would act as a discriminatory means of punishment that promoted vices such as racism. In addition to this, it has been argued in the past that capital punishment was misused by those that were in positions of power. Gibeaut (2010) also argues that the scale of punishment of the military and the civilian deferred completely with the military being accorded a punishment that was far less than what they deserved for the crimes they had committed as compared to the civilians who were judged severely (22). With this in mind, these opponents believe that capital punishment is an unfair form of judging criminals and deterring recidivism. Additionally, Appleton and Grover (2007) argue that life imprisonment without parole should be used as a substitute for capital punishment (597-600).

In spite of the arguments that have been presented in the recent past on the issue of capital punishment, there is need to maintain this form of punishment in the society as a way of dealing with crime and discouraging recidivism. To begin with, capital punishment has in the past acted as a perfect way of dealing with crime in the society. According to Radelet and Lacock (2009), in 2002, the Washington Post published an article under the catchy title ‘Murderous Pardons?’ about research by econometrician Naci Mocan purporting to find that each execution led to 5-6 fewer homicides, and for every three additional “pardons” of a death row inmate, there were 1-1.5 additional homicides (490). Stated in other words, whenever there was an execution of a criminal, there was a respective decrease in homicide in the society. On the contrary, whenever a criminal on death roll was pardoned, there was a respective increase in homicide crime by up to 1.5. There, it can be argued that the use of capital punishment acted as an excellent deterrent measure of dealing with criminal activities in the society. This is supported by the fact that researches that have been carried out by scholars and researchers on the effect of executing criminals found out there was an inverse relationship between capital punishment and increase in criminal activities in the society. Radelet and Lacock (2009) assert that each execution in Texas prevented between eleven and eighteen homicides (491).

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Therefore, there is need to reintroduce capital punishment in the statutes of the law enforcement agencies in Canada as a way of dealing with crime and recidivism. In consistent with this argument, the increase in the number of prisoners has continued to strain the government in terms of providing prison services. Therefore, while it has been argued by Gibeaut (2010) that life sentence could serve as an alternative to capital punishment; this is not feasible since there are no enough resources to manage a large number of prisoners. In reference to Radelet and Akers (1996), much of the support for capital punishment rests on its presumed value as a general deterrent: we need the death penalty to encourage potential murderers to avoid engaging in criminal homicide (1). Whereas life imprisonment without parole deterred criminal activities up to a certain percentage, it was not as effective as death penalty. Notably, there are a lot of criminals who enjoy being in prison since they are unable to fit in the society. Therefore, the issue of them being sentence does not in any way change their behavior. Instead, whenever they are released back to the society, they have been found to be involved in criminal activities once more.

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On the other hand, using life sentence as an alternative has more than often made prison the training ground for other criminals. In consistent, those criminals that are serving life sentence have been found to train other criminal thus making it difficult to eliminate recidivism. On the other, the abolitionists have continually argued that innocent people could easily be killed if death penalty continued to form as one of the punishments for criminal activities. However, with the recent technological development in forensic science, the law institutions are now in a position to perfectly determine whether the criminal in question really committed the crime. In other words, there are a lot of people who have been released from prison before being executed in the context of the evidence that revealed that they had not committed the crime. According to Aronson and Cole (2009), by 1996, sixty-five people had been exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence (610-613). Therefore, the issue of wrongful conviction and innocence cannot in any way be used as an excuse of abolishing capital punishment, especially in Canada where technological advancements are able to support scientific investigation of crime.

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With this in mind, whereas there are people who have argued against it, capital punishment should be reinstated in Canada in order to deter future criminals and prevent repeated criminal activities or rather recidivism. Notably, there are a lot of opposing views that have emerged in the past in regard to capital punishment in the Canadian society. Among them is the fact that capital punishment is a way of promoting discrimination and racism in the society. However, it is worthy to note that capital punishment is an important tool not only of deterring crime in the society but also preventing recidivism among habitual criminals. In addition, whereas law enforcement institutions can utilize life imprisonment without parole as an alternative, it does not serve as an effective tool of deterrence as death penalty. Similarly, this form of punishment only adds tax burdens to the common people while achieving below the average results. In conclusion therefore, capital punishment should be reinstated in Canada.


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