Nowadays when one hears about recent news, filled with constantly growing reports of crimes and atrocities he may wonder whether we live in a world where strong moral principles and justice fades. The causes of such situation may be diverse, ranging from weak and incompetent law or the state of society which promotes the pursuit of material wealth at all costs. It is often highlighted that punishment sentences are not adequate to the crimes and it’s not uncommon to see brutal and outrageous felonies penalized with a mere few years of imprisonment. That said, aside from whether these unlawful offenders manage to rehabilitate themselves, the fact that after the incarceration, the most hardened murderers and thugs are at liberty again raises doubts about the effectiveness of law and may lead certain individuals to think that they are practically unpunishable. This problem doesn’t concern prevailing part of the States of America, because in 32 out of 50 States the death sentence is a possible method of dealing with the most ignoble cases of trespassing a law.
Historically speaking the death sentence was a part of common English law and as such became a part of the English colonies law, but as soon as the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and United States began to form, certain States had different views on this punishment. Offences that were penalized with it and methods of the executions also varied. The breakthrough in the judicial treatment of this matter was a case ruled in 1972, known as Furman v. Georgia. The defendant charged robbery and murder was sentenced to death, but the verdict was never carried out. That’s because the opinion of court was that the current death penalty is in this case a cruel and unusual punishment. This led to the mortification of capital punishment for 4 years, until the Greg v. Georgia in 1976 and unification of the death penalty.
As for now, in almost every big state, death penalty is legal. Texas is currently known as having performed the highest number of executions, which is not surprising, as it has the second highest population rate. The debate over capital punishment is continuing to this day, but is very controversial. There is a definite tendency to abolish this penalty over introducing it, as seen in Connecticut and Maryland. These states abolished death penalty in 2012 and 2013. The moral issue is whether it is possible for human to decide over the other human death or life, but also if certain crimes deserve the capital punishment. Again, is it really just for certain offenders to live in confinement at the expense of the taxpayers even for the rest of their lives? In my opinion the feelings of the family and close acquaintances of the victims should be taken into account. It is only natural for them to wish the dangerous murderers dead. Furthermore I think that notorious criminals and particularly brutal killers should be sentenced to death. Another moral controversy stems from the fact that there were cases in which convicts were posthumously proven to be not guilty.
The contemporary judicial process allows for such wrongful convictions but this number is statistically low. On the other hand a system which allows execution when there is even a doubt about the defendant’s guilt can be considered inhumane and barbaric for such advanced and progressive country as the United States of America. The recent case of Troy Davis, who was believed of being innocent of murder brought much attention to the subject in 2011. The Death Penalty Information Center reported much higher than anticipated opposition to the current situation, because the American society was seen majorly as in favor of capital punishment. From the economical viewpoint the death sentence has its benefits and drawbacks. Firstly, the most felonious offenders could spend a set number of years or the rest of their lives doing the hard labor, but there is possibility that they will not work or deliberately do a bad job. Currently in the United States the penal labor is not required, but the convict who refused to work usually gets smaller food rations, longer sentence or other restricting sanctions.
It seems like it’s the good solution but would it be enough to compensate for their sustenance, particularly when they live to the old age and can’t work? Next issue is connected with the high costs of exceptionally long trials. If there is insufficient evidence about the defendant who is in the death row the law is in a fix. There is little to do in such situation unless the new methods of interrogation or criminal research become viable. To summarize, this topic offers a great number of controversies and has no easy and direct approach. In the past the capital punishment was a part of every society, but now in almost every country in the world it is abolished or under the moratorium, which shows that we, the human kind are progressing as a sentient and civilized beings.
The United States of America is one of the most industrialized and populous countries today that still practice the death penalty, others being for example China, Japan and India. This makes one wonder if these countries can be considered civilized, but the capital punishment still has a very strong support. One of the most reasonable argument is that under the threat of the most severe consequences people will not commit crime. In the end, whether it is justifiable to take the other’s life in the name of law or not, I am in favor of such possibility and America’s approach. In my opinion there are some crimes that deserve the capital punishment.
Courtney from Study Moose
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