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Capital Punishment

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Introduction

Capital Punishment Capital punishment is the execution of a convicted murderer, by the state. The word capital in "capital punishment" refers to a person's head. In the past, people were often executed by severing their head from their body. The death sentence generally only used as a punishment for murder, but it is difficult to distinguish the difference between murder (an intentional killing of another human being) and manslaughter (the accidental killing of another human being) therefore the sentence is sometimes used too harshly. During the last decade of the twentieth century, 547 prisoners have been executed in the United States -one third of them in Texas. Another 3,500 wait on death row. But many people disagree with Capital punishment as they consider the punishment to be cruel and unusual. I consider capital Punishment to be emotionally and morally wrong. Killing someone else can not rectify killing some one. This causes pain for another family and in a way shows that some murders are acceptable. Having their loved one murdered by the state also punishes the family of the prisoner. Yet the family is usually innocent of any crime. Despite the moral argument against capital Punishment, surveys in the United States and Canada regularly show that a sizeable majority of adults are in favour of the death penalty for convicted murderers. Depending on the exact question asked, about 65-80% of American adults says that they want to retain capital punishment. ...read more.

Middle

They feel that certain crimes are so heinous that executing the criminal is the only reasonable response, "It is by exacting the highest penalty for the taking of human life that we affirm the highest value of human life" -Edward Koch. People also feel that the death penalty will deter criminals from killing. A study by Isaac Ehrlich found that the murder rate responded to executions. He concluded that 7 or 8 murders were prevented by each execution from 1933 to 1967. A study by Kenneth Wolpin showed that each execution, on average reduced the number of murders in England by four, but this does not seem to be confirmed by all of the available data. Once a convicted murderer is executed an buried, there is no further maintenance cost to the state or government, and there is no chance that he can break out of jail and kill or injure someone. Some people feel that permitting premeditated murder is totally unexceptable, even if the government does it. Capital punishment lowers the value of human life as seen by the general population and brutalizes society. It is pure revenge. It "violates our belief in the human capacity for change...and powerfully reinforces the idea that killing can be a proper way of responding to those who have wronged us!" Those people do not believe that reinforcements of that idea can lead to healthier and safer communities. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also a chance of error in the sentencing of murder cases. Many convicted murderers are later found innocent and have been pardoned. An example of this was the "Birmingham Six". Accused of planting a bomb in a bar in Birmingham, they were put in jail and spent 16 years in jail before being found innocent. In 1987 a study was published by the Stanford Law review. They found some evidence that suggested that at least 350 people between 1990 and 1985 in America might have been innocent of the crime for which they are convicted, and could have been sentenced to death. 139 "were sentenced to death and as many as 23 were executed". There is a down side to this though. Some jury members are reluctant to convict in murder trials because of the possibility of executing an innocent person. Thus many killers go free and are never punished. I feel that Capital punishment is unnecessary and takes away from the meaning of human life being sacred. I think that a lifetime prison sentence is more appropriate and I think that life sentences should be increased to thirty or more years. In prison it allows the murderer time to reflect on what they have done and gives them the time to grieve for the person they have murdered. If they are killed straight away then they will never have a chance to feel regret. ...read more.

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