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

Should capital punishment be reinstated?

Extracts from this document...


Society: Should Capital Punishment Be Reinstated? Background Capital punishment is the lawful infliction of death as a punishment and since ancient times it has been used for a wide variety of offences. The Bible prescribes death for murder and many other crimes including kidnapping and witchcraft. By 1500 in England, only major felonies carried the death penalty - treason, murder, theft, burglary, r**e, and arson. From 1723, under the "Waltham Black Acts", Parliament enacted many new capital offences and this led to an increase in the number of people being put to death each year. Reform of the death penalty began in Europe by the 1750's and was championed by academics. They argued that the death penalty was needlessly cruel, over-rated as a deterrent and occasionally imposed in fatal error. By the 1850's, these reform efforts began to take place. Venezuela banished it in 1853 and Portugal in 1867, they were the first nations to abolish the death penalty altogether. In the United States, Michigan was the first state to abolish it for murder in 1847. Britain effectively abolished capital punishment in 1965. The USA, together with China, Japan and many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, plus some African states still retain the death penalty for certain crimes. Arguments For Capital Punishment Capital punishment permanently removes the worst criminals from society and should prove much safer for the rest of us than long term or permanent incarceration. ...read more.


The figure for homicides in 2007 was 734. The principal causes of homicide are fights involving fists and feet, stabbing and cutting by glass or a broken bottle, shooting and strangling. 72% of the victims were male with younger men being most at risk. Figures released in 2009 show that since 1997, 65 prisoners who were released after serving life were convicted of a further crime. These included two murders, one suspected murder, one attempted murder, three rapes and two instances of grievous bodily harm. The same document also noted that 304 people given life sentences since January 1997 served less than 10 years of them, actually in prison. Arguments Against Capital Punishment According to many religions life is sacred and precious. God is the only person that can create or take away life. Penalising someone through capital punishment goes against this belief, even if they have killed someone themselves. Everyone also has the right to live, even those who have committed murder; sentencing someone to death goes against this right. It is hypocritical for the law to be able to kill someone who had done the same. The most common and most convincing argument against capital punishment is that innocent people will get killed because of mistakes or flaws in the justice system. ...read more.


They still do today in those countries where executions are carried out in public. It is hard to prove this one way or the other - people stop and look at car crashes but it does not make them go and have an accident to see what it is like. The death penalty is the bluntest of all punishments, it removes the individual's humanity and with it any chance of rehabilitation and their giving something back to society. In the case of the worst criminals, this may be acceptable but is more questionable in the case of less awful crimes. Overall, I think that not having capital punishment is superior as it has a lot more pros than it does cons. For starters, innocent people will not be getting killed for something they have not done, which I feel is the main reason. Secondly, criminal will have to live with what they have done for the rest of their lives, which in its self is a punishment, as well as the disappointment from their friends and family. Lastly, as stated, having capital punishment does not help prevent crime. It has been proven that whilst capital punishment takes place crime levels rise. They only reason why capital punishment would be a good thing is that criminals would not have the opportunity to reoffend which means that it should help keep crime levels lower or at least prevent them from increasing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions 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 AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Consider the arguments for and against paid organ donation.

    accept for an organ, you cannot base a value for a kidney in the UK on the current transplant trade. It would be extremely hard to base a decent organ value on this existing trade because it is uncensored, so people may lie about the costs involved, many cases would

  2. Arguing against the death penalty. Truly there is no purpose to the Death Penalty ...

    They speak hatred, but what of love? How can they appoint themselves judges of another human being when they, themselves, are the ones who should be, supposedly, judged; how are they qualified to determine the fate of another man's life when their fate is still in question and their status undetermined?

  1. The only punishment that can achieve justice is retribution DISCUSS

    The idea behind this is that the criminal will reflectively be educated into understanding the conventional morality in order to fit in with society's ideas about morality and therefore the individual will be 'converted'. Philosopher Bertrand Russell uses the analogy of a car reflecting, 'if a car does not do

  2. Capital Punishment

    they were the Church governing body. In between 1929 and 1969 Capital Punishment was legal in the Vatican City, although it was only used to one specific case - if the pope was assassinated, although they never carried out any punishments.

  1. Modern life-prolonging technologies have sharpened some ancient dilemmas on the value of life.

    I object to the ethical fear and torpidity -what Santayana called moral cramp- that has refused to recognize that certain technical developments have changed the nature of death. Section 1 and Section 2 describe the SL and QL positions, their variations, and points of disagreement.

  2. The Main Features of Justice, Law and Punishment

    Charles Colson wrote, ?The primary purpose of criminal justice is to preserve order with the minimum infraction of individual liberties.? This is reinforced by the views of J.S.Mills who states that the only purpose of passing laws is to stop one person doing significant harm to another against the person?s will, punishment ensures this.

  1. DNA and capital punishment

    Washington is evidence of such a case. Mr. Washington suffered from mental retardation. During his police questioning he falsely confessed to r****g and murdering a woman. He later changed his statement, but was still sentenced to death. DNA tests were conducted later and proved that he was not the culprit, but Mr.

  2. Capital Punishment - analyse the views of Ernest van den Haag and Hugo Adam ...

    Thus, murderers should be punished with the death penalty. Haag also uses the situation with current prisoners to elaborate his point of how capital punishment is a deterrent. Prisoners serving life sentences and who are not sentenced to execution relatively follow prison rules and norms because the possibility of a more severe punishment or sentence does exist.

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