The Death Penalty: Pros and Cons

Both now and past, the death penalty has been controversial. Should the death penalty exist? People have different opinions about it. In this essay, it will show the existence of the death penalty can be justified. Some of the biggest issues with the death penalty are: social safety, family members of victims. This paper will evaluate the death penalty based on social safety and family members of victims to show that it should exist.

The meanings of the death penalty in social safety

The death penalty is a deterrent penalty.

The law stipulates that the death penalty must exist, so there must have a rationale for it. Deprivation of a person’s right to life does not seem to be in conformity with the constitutional systems of today’s countries, but from the constitutional point of view, the right to life is not an absolute right, it is a relative right that can be restricted in accordance with the provisions of the law.

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In order to safeguard the right to life, the law sets necessary restrictions on violations of that right. The death penalty is always not immediately executed, there are two years to make criminals aware of their mistakes. In China, there is a saying that murder pays life. The purpose of the death penalty is not just to kill the criminals, but to let a prisoner who has committed the crime of killing face his mistakes honestly, know his mistakes, and determine to use his remaining life to atone for his sins and contribute to the society.

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‘Ancient and modern, clearly answers this question affirmatively. Indeed, the fact that convicted offenders almost universally seek and welcome the commutation of a death sentence to life imprisonment is consistent with intuitive ranking of the death penalty as the harshest of all punishments.’ (Ehrlich, 1973)Only when their lives are threatened will some people understand the dignity and meaning of life. If the criminals behave well, the death penalty may change to life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment.

‘An increase in any of the three probabilities of arrest, sentencing, or execution tends to reduce the crime rate. Results are robust to specification of such probabilities. In particular, our most conservative estimate is that the execution of each offender seems to save, on average, the lives of eighteen potential victims. (This estimate has a margin of error of plus and minus ten).’(Dezhbakhsh, Rubin &Shepherd, 2003). The data is proved from the perspective of professional statistics to show the death penalty can reduce the rate of crime.

The meaning of the death penalty to family members of victims

‘Unfortunately, the murderer has deprived his family and friends of a loved one. Their grief begins with the murder. It may not end with the murderer’s execution, but the execution does engender a feeling of relief at no longer having to think about the ordeal—a feeling which often fails to arise while the murderer still lives on.’(Manzano, 2017). It is show that the death penalty can make a positive to the family members of victims. ‘Many victims desire and demand revenge, vengeance, and retribution.’ (Lifton & Mitchell, 2002). If the law can’t give criminals the punishment they deserve, the family members may take some measures to punish the criminals in their own way. Although the death penalty is not enacted to revenge, but can make the family members of victims feel more comfort. In Japan, an 18 years old boy raped and killed a woman and killed her son who was only 11 months old. The criminal except said sorry one time, he had no confession to the victim. When he was sentenced to life imprisonment (because he was young, he is protected by law, he may just stand in prison only seven or eight years), the husband felt painful. The husband of the victim continuously appealed, and the end of the events, the boy was sentenced to the death penalty. The death penalty is not only to remove a frenzied person from society, but also to reassure family members and let the dead get the respect they deserve.

The meaning of the death penalty to the Victims

On July 4, 1776, a group of men drew up the Declaration of Independence. And ‘Eighty-seven years later, containing only a few hundred words spoken under the inspiration of a great and solemn assembly, Abraham Lincoln gave to the ages America’s noblest example of oratory. In the first sentence Lincoln said, “. . . dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”’(Howett, 1944). The two historical events show that people are equal. The life of people are equal too. If a person deprived the lives of others, he should pay the same value things back.

No matter whether the rights of the family members of the victims and victims or in the social safety aspects, the death penalty should exist. If the death penalty doesn’t exist, there would be many people who don’t get the punishment they deserve, and there would be many people like the woman and the child who were killed. The existence of the death penalty is to give the dead a voice, and provide family members comfort. Let the criminals understand the dignity and meaning of life, let the unrepentant criminals get the punishment they should have. This is the meaning of the death penalty.


  • Lifton, R. J., & Mitchell, G. (2000). Who owns death? Capital punishment, the American conscience, and the end of executions. New York: William Morrow.
  • Ehrlich, I. (1973). The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Dezhbakhsh, H., Rubin, P. H., & Shepherd, J. M. (2003). Does capital punishment have a deterrent effect? New evidence from postmoratorium panel data. American Law and Economics Review, 5(2), 344-376.
  • Manzano, M. (2017). The Death Penalty. New York, NY, UNITED STATES: Greenhaven Publishing LLC. Retrieved from
  • Howett, J. (1944). All Men Are Created Equal. Manuscripts, 12(2), 8.

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The Death Penalty: Pros and Cons. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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