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Discuss the arguments for and against the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder.

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Introduction

Discuss the arguments for and against the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder. The death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1965. (Blackwell 1968.) The abolishment of the death penalty was not a simple case. Since 1957 the issue had been before the House of Commons more than 19 times. However the death penalty is still used today in many countries across the world. During the year 2000 at least 3,058 people were sentenced to death in 65 different countries. (www.amnesty.org 2001.) This essay will discuss arguments for and against the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder. One of the most straight forward arguments for the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder, is that once an offender has been executed they are obviously unable to kill again. (Hudson 1996.) A study by Bendall found that in the 17 years before the death penalty was abolished eleven police officers were murdered. He then studied the 17 years after the death penalty was abolished and found that twenty-seven police officers were murdered, which is more than double the figure than before. Therefore this is evidence that the abolition of the death penalty resulted in an increase in the rate of murders. (Sorell 1987.) In May 1982 there was a debate on the clauses in the Criminal Justice Bill in the British House of Commons. ...read more.

Middle

wrote If everyone including offenders has a right to life, then capital punishment is obviously a violation of this human rights, however wider it may be held as the only commensurate punishment for some crimes, or how effective it may be as a deterrent. Another human rights issue is the long periods of time that is spent waiting on death row. The average time spent on death row is 9 years. The psychological effects have been studied and it has been concluded that spending a long time on death row can be harmful to a prisoner. (Coke & Martin 1958.) The deterrence effect of the death penalty is not a simple case. There has been substantial evidence for and against it. Bandura (1986) stated that "the issue is not whether the threat of punishment by death can deter homicide , but whether the death penalty deters homicide more effectively than imprisonment." (Feldman, 1993: 350) He concluded that the abolishment of the death penalty has not affected the crime rate, and therefore did not have a deterrent effect. (Feldman, 1993.) In the 1982 House of Commons debate it was pointed out that murder by shooting should not by punished by the death penalty on the grounds that "guns were often used by the mentally unstable or by the sane in moments of high passion." ...read more.

Conclusion

(Duke University, 1993.) The state of Georgia is going broke because of prosecuting death penalty cases. Each case costs the state $300,000 which could be spent on other causes such as emergency services, salaries and road equipment etc. (www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, 1997) As we can see there are many arguments for and against the reintroduction of the death penalty. It is not as simple as many people may first think. There are many conflicting views. For example the in the bible Moses states "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." (Hagan, Gillis & Brownfield 1996.) However also in the bible the Ten Commandments spoken to God by Moses says "Thou shalt not kill." The death penalty in the United Kingdom is now seen by many as being old fashioned and out of date. Hudson (1996: 91.) wrote: The move from torture, mutilation and death to imprisonment and fines, are not so much progress in humanitarianism, as progress in bureaucratized rationalism, necessary to meet the social control needs and legitimacy conditions of modern society. In modern society the arguments against the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder tend to outweigh the arguments for. It is highly unlikely that the death penalty will be reintroduced in the United Kingdom again because of the UK being part of the European Convention of Human Rights. ...read more.

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