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Capital punishment.

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Introduction

Capital punishment is most severe form of justice, the death penalty. It is the punishment given to the convicted criminals who have committed a capital offence. This punishment exists mainly because it is a huge deterrent against 'would be' criminals. Many countries have abolished it as a punishment. Some people believe it is inhumane and morally wrong for a society who frowns upon murderers to murder others. Some criminals could be wrongly convicted; there is no redress for innocent man. Some think that we are a civilized society that should not kill to solve our problems. There are many different reasons why countries such as the U.K have abolished it as a punishment. The documentary "14 Days in May" focused the issue of capital punishment. This documentary shows the life of the convicted murderer Edward Earl Johnson awaiting the death penalty on Death Row in the Parchment State Penitentiary, Mississippi. A film crew followed the last fortnight of his life on death row before being put into the gas chamber on the 20th May 1987. We see the last days of his life as he and his legal team struggle to prove his innocence. The death penalty was abolished in the USA until it was reinstated in 1976. The USA is in league with countries such as Iran, Turkey, South Africa and China, which all use capital punishment. ...read more.

Middle

This again portrays a different image to the one you would expect from a convicted murderer. Looking at Johnson's stay in the prison he seemed to be treated very well and was highly thought of by black and even white prison guards. We see interviews with his fellow inmates, who all talk about his innocence and describe him as intelligent and thoughtful. They come across as normal gentle people again different to what you would expect on death row. The death row staff and the head chaplain said, on film, they believed Edward Johnson to be innocent. None of the interviews given claim Johnson was guilty except the superintendent, and was very nervous and unsure according to Paul Hanmann, a cameraman. All of this reinforces his image as an innocent man. Being a "fly on the wall" documentary, we hear everything around at the time with no voice over. This gives the viewers the feel of the situation and puts them in the same position as Edward Earl Johnson. It is a creative way to make the viewers feel some sympathy for the prisoner as they get a slight idea of how he is must be feeling. It also has a positive affect on the viewer as it made it seem real and that it was not a planned speech or an act, and all the opinions given seemed like facts. ...read more.

Conclusion

It wouldn't be a 'fly on the wall' documentary and would have persuasive narration and background music, to make us think Edward was guilty. Edward would be shown to be rough, violent and angry to fit the stereotype of criminals on death row. This documentary has defiantly reinforced my views on capital punishment. It was cleverly made with a lot of suspense. I have always thought that killing is wrong no matter what the circumstances even as a punishment. I cannot see how a society who frowns upon murder to murder as a punishment. I have always seen the death penalty as an easy way out, we do not know what happens after death and if death truly is the end, with no after life, then the criminal will never have to think about the crime they have committed and ever have really suffered. It has persuaded me to think twice about some of the criminals in prison and whether or not they are innocent. Cases like Edward's make people more against capital punishment. An innocent man was killed while the criminal is still living. Capital punishment is killing to rid the world of our problems instead of sorting them out. The documentary shows capital punishment to be barbaric and endangers the innocent. Every one should remember that it is not man's job to control man, when everyone realizes this maybe the world will be a better place. ...read more.

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