• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Capital Punishment

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Capital Punishment A strong case can be made in principle for and against capital punishment. The argument in favor is based on justice and the nature of a moral community, which requires that each person respect the life and liberty of others. Those who commit vicious crimes destroy the basis on which a moral community rests and forfeit their rights to citizenship and even to life itself. The argument against is based on love and the nature of an ideal community in which forgiveness and the hope for redemption are guiding aims. Protection of the innocent requires that criminals be isolated, perhaps permanently. Just punishment is appropriate, but love never gives up even on those who show no love. The most compelling argument against capital punishment, however, is based on its actual administration in our society: the risk of killing an innocent person, disproportionate infliction on the poor and minorities, weakness of the deterrence argument, failure to recognize that destructive life histories of criminals may have damaged their humanity to the point that it is unfair to hold them fully accountable for their wrongdoing, and so on. Life imprisonment without parole serves the same purposes as capital punishment at less cost without the practical disadvantages and injustices of its actual practice. Churches should call for an immediate moratorium and work for the eventual end of the death penalty. ...read more.

Middle

Society may actually be pleased with, or at least content with, the value it is getting for its capital punishment dollar. Retributive Arguments Concerning Capital Punishment The retributive notion of punishment in general is that (a) as a foundational matter of justice, criminals deserve punishment, and (b) punishment should be equal to the harm done. In determining what counts as "punishment equal to harm," theorists further distinguish between two types of retributive punishment. First, lex talionis retribution involves punishment in kind and is commonly expressed in the expression "an eye for an eye." Second, lex salica retribution involves punishment through compensation, and the harm inflicted can be repaired by payment or atonement. Historically, capital punishment is most often associated lex talionis retribution. One of the most early written statements of capital punishment from the lex talionis or "eye for an eye" perspective is from the 18th century BCE Babylonian Law of Hammurabi: If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death. If it kills the son of the owner, then the son of that builder shall be put to death. Critics of classic lex talionis-oriented capital punishment point out several problems with this view. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dignity, humanity and love are foundational moral goods and as such are prima facie in nature. That is, they are each morally binding on face value until a stronger duty emerges with which it conflicts, thereby creating a moral dilemma. Defenders of capital punishment argue that retributive justice is one such conflicting duty. For, even though we are duty bound to acknowledge a criminal's dignity, the duty of retribution is also present and is in fact outweighs the other duties. A second direct attack on the practice of capital punishment is that, at least at present, it is virtually impossible to apply death sentences fairly. People on death row are typically poor and thus could not afford the best defense at their initial trial. They are also predominately Afro-American or Hispanic which raises larger issues of racial inequality in the US. As ethnic minorities, they are also likely to receive more strict judgments from juries than their white counterparts who commit the same crime. These considerations recently prompted a US Supreme Court Justice to change his own views on capital punishment and reject the practice. In addition to problems of class bias, the practice of capital punishment is further tainted by the tragic fact that innocent people are sometimes executed. Eliminating capital punishment not only prevents their wrongful execution, but gives them more time to to clear their names and return to society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Capital Punishment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Capital Punishment essays

  1. Free essay

    "Death is nothing to us." How good are the Epicurean arguments for this ...

    It should not affect our temporal life and in pain Epicurus believes one should recall their happier moments and the pleasure that was experienced. Epicurus believes that we need not fear anything and that our genuine needs are easily satisfied.

  2. Capital punishment as a deterrent of capital crimes in America

    The most important of these safeguards is the right to make habeas corpus appeals to the federal courts. Yet it has become more and more difficult over recent years for those convicted of capital crimes to get a chance at a new trial.

  1. The three main theories that will be discussed in this essay will stem from ...

    In fact, a fairly extensive literature has developed criticizing contending the contrary. The trouble with these critics, though, is that not all agree on exactly what the cause of the experience might be.

  2. Capital Punishment

    Historically, capital punishment is most often-associated lex talionis retribution. One of the most early written statements of capital punishment from the lex talionis or "eye for an eye" perspective is from the 18th century BCE Babylonian Law of Hammurabi: If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house, which he built,

  1. COMMENTARY ON TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION- CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

    This is also the method used in the film "The life of David Gale". It goes like this: A room is prepared where the subject is strapped down on a stainless steel table. Eight syringes are prepared, two filled with saline solution (to mix with the other chemicals), two with

  2. In this philosophical study of applied ethics the concept of punishment will be argued ...

    Kant explains that justice and righteousness are the bedrock on which human values or dignity depends. Because Kants view is universal, murder is always the most heinous infringement of human liberty, then it follows that in permitting a murderer to live one is undermining the essential values on which society is founded.

  1. An Essay on Crime, what Capital Punishment is, my own view and also the ...

    This still doesn't take away the fact that it is still murder. The murder should be punished but not quiet as severely as death. A lot of people believe that capital punishment would be the easy way out and they would be escaping a real punishment.

  2. Speed Kills.

    "It's really, really shocking," says one pupil. "You don't really realise the magnitude of what can happen through speeding." Money matters Another way that young drivers are being targeted is through their wallets. Eighteen year old Sean Duffy has an insurance quote of �3,000 - a quote that can be reduced through the Pass Plus scheme.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work