Essay Sample on Capital Punishment: My Point of View

Posted on August 18, 2009

A great many cases can be made in justifying for and against capital punishment. My view is that capital punishment is wrong in all circumstances as I believe in the most compelling argument of all which is based on: the risk of killing an innocent person, failure to recognize a person can repent and change and that disproportionate poor and ethnic minorities could be killed.

Committing a crime involves performing a social act that offends the laws of a society. This can range from stealing a packet of crisps from a shop, to murder. There are lots of reasons for which people commit a crime, whether it is because they are poor so they have to commit robberies to survive, or because they are mentally ill and do not realize the difference between right and wrong. At the present, drugs are a major reason for generating crime. Drug addicts need drugs to keep themselves functioning properly. So to do this, they need money to buy drugs. The only way they can get the money, if they have run out of their own, is by committing money making crimes and stealing. There are a variety of ways to punish the criminals but it is not, and should not, be all about punishing them. I believe the cause of the problem should be found out, and that this should be solved. For example if a man steals to feed his family, he should not be punished as this is the states fault for not providing for his family. Punishment can be used as a deterrent to stop the criminal committing crime. It can also be a form of “revenge” on the criminal for his actions. It makes them suffer for their crime. The punishment can also protect society from the criminal. The criminal could be dangerous, and it could be for the public’s wellbeing and the criminal’s welfare if he is punished. Punishment can also be used to give the criminal a chance to restructure his life, so they can change their ways and make him less likely to commit another crime.

The arguments for bringing it back can be entirely debated. One argument is that it deters potential murders. I believe this is untrue as it is proven that most murders are committed in a moment of passion so the alleged killer would not really be thinking about the repercussions. If a person is coldly killing people, I believe the person may have a problem, possibly mental health issues, and should see a psychiatrist rather that being locked up. Some say that capital punishment defends civilians and police from violence. But I ask what is jail for? The argument for, is deeply weighted, as it can then be argued, once the accused has served their prison sentence, they will be released again and therefore be a threat to society again, and will be able to re-commit more crimes. However, if they are put to death, they will not be able to re-offend and consequently not be able to be a threat to society any more. Some people for capital punishment tell me, it costs the taxpayer too much money to keep a criminal in jail and why should they be made to pay for this anyway. But, can you really put a value against human life? Is it not the most priceless and precious gift ever given to you? Also, upon doing research in America where capital punishment still exists, I found out in Texas it costs an average of $2.3m to prosecute and execute a convicted criminal each year, while it only costs $400,000 for life imprisonment. Innocent people will always be preyed on. You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and BANG, all your freedom is gone, or if capital punishment was brought back, your life. Since 1973, ninety-five of the inmates on death row in America have been fully cleared by the courts. One man, by the name of Kerry Sanders, a mental health patient, was picked up for sleeping on a bench during October 1993 in LA. A routine check showed that a Robert Sanders had escaped from a prison in New York that morning. This Kerry Sanders was obviously not Robert Sanders yet was still arrested. As he was had mental health issues, he signed a confession saying he was Robert Sanders because “he was told to”. He was sent to a maximum security prison where he was sexually assaulted by other inmates, all while his mother and sister were searching over the streets of LA for him. Only after the real Robert Sanders was arrested, was he set free. But, imagine had this man been sentenced to earth, you would not be able to bring him back to life.

Religion is the oldest argument in the book and can swing both ways. Jesus said “to turn the other cheek” thus saying do not use capital punishment as a form of revenge. It is also reported when a woman was going to be stoned to death for committing adultery, Jesus told the crowd that “he without sin “ should throw the first stone consequently saying that it is not humans here on earth right to judge and punish another person. In Judaism, they believe “an eye for and eye” and “a tooth for a tooth”, and in Islam, the laws state that for certain crimes, such as murder or adultery, the death penalty should be used. In spite of this, both religions have long traditions of justice and mercy, and Islam says, even if the execution is at that moment taking place, if the victim’s family forgive the accused, the death penalty should not be carried out.

I therefore believe capital punishment is wrong, and that under no circumstances should it be used. Yet, I also believe “life imprisonment” should mean just that, and not just 10- 12 years. In order to protect society, “life imprisonment without parole” should be considered. This would not only take into consideration the welfare of the innocent, but also if someone was wrongly accused, they would be able to be released whereas you cannot do this with capital punishment.

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