The death penalty or capital punishment represents the most controversial issues in modern society. Although, the death penalty has created disputes for centuries, but modern society has still not come in accord to make a firm implementation of the rule. People break laws so the death punishment becomes the main tool which enforces people to vindicate the social order. Societies for thousands of years have used capital punishment, the penalty of death for the most heinous of crimes. The paper represents anti-death penalty arguments researched and analyzed with the pro-death penalty arguments refuted also. Thesis Thedeath penalty does not solve the problem of violent crimes, does not bring benefits to society and, for this reason, cannot remain the tool of punishment in a democratic society.
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In recent years, capital punishment has come under fire in the United States. Following Logan (1999), the arguments surrounding capital punishment issue concern the apparent constitutionality, risk of executing the innocent, discrimination, effectiveness and stance (a just or unjust punishment). One of the most prominent philosophers, Jonathan Locke, says that when man enters into society, this man enters into a social contract. In exchange for some of freedom, the governing body of society offers security for all constituents (Specter 1998). Logan writes: “although life and death requests … indistinguishable from the perspective of individual decedents, prosecutorial deference to the latter raises significant constitutional concern” (Logan 1999, p. 41). The idea of the death penalty creates chaos and confusion opening more wounds within society, rather than creating a sense of closure, because many believe severe penalty does. When relating capital punishment to the just society values, one finds that the death penalty violates each and every standard of life. The first, and the most important one, respect for human dignity represents the obvious violation of just society values.
Critics consider death penalty a cruel and barbaric method of punishment which ruins life of people and families. People may loose innocent because of erroneous convictions leading to the death penalty but, Ernest van den Haag writes: “People cannot know whether the murderer on death row suffers more than a victim suffered; however, unlike the murderer, the victim deserved none of the suffering inflicted” (Haag 1994, p. 255 cited). In the USA, The Constitution does not accept and declare death penalty the national punishment tool. Logan (1999) admits that researchers do not have any conclusive evidence submitted that proves or disproves effectiveness of the death penalty. The possibility that the death penalty of an offender will prevent one murder and the threat of the death penalty deserves all the trouble and supposed ineffectiveness.
A possibility that threat of the death penalty will save one more life deserves validation. By Van den Haag’s reasoning, "an eye for an eye" principle does not really seem to apply nor does the inmate’s suffering seem equal or relevant in relation to victims. Supporters of the death penalty argue that the multitudes of injustices related to capital punishment do not outweigh extremely harmful impact capital punishment has on human individuals, and to society in general. Religious values call for respect for life from conception to death. God has the sole right to give and take life, and the idea of capital punishment completely undermines the power of God, allowing humans to choose who shall live and who shall die (Specter 1998).
In sum, the death penalty does not solve social and political problem remaining an effective tool of punishment. Strict laws and severe punishment will prevent many young people from repeat crimes and incarceration. New laws should specify and set lengths of sentences for particular offenses. God grants a person life and soul so only God has the right to take the life away form a person.
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