Should The UK Reintroduce The Death Penalty

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 885 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jul 17, 2018

Words: 885|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jul 17, 2018

The death penalty is used in 53 countries including China and 31 states within the USA to punish capital offenses. The death penalty was abolished in Britain in 1965, but there has been much debate over if it should be reintroduced. This report will explore the arguments for and against the death penalty.

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One ideology supporting the death penalty is retribution. This is the opinion that criminals deserve to be punished in proportion to their actions; if you kill, then you should be killed. Another ideology which supports the death penalty is deterrence. This is the belief that understanding the punishment for the crime could put off possible offenders.

One of the largest arguments for the death penalty involves the ideology of incapacitation, which is the thought that execution stops criminals from committing any other crimes, which protects the public and allows prisons to be safer. ‘A dead man cannot commit any further crimes. Someone in prison can commit further crimes within the prison’.

Another reason that the UK should reintroduce the death penalty is that it would reduce prison costs. According to thoughts, ‘the government should spend our resources on the old, the young, the sick, rather than on the costs of long-term imprisonment’. In America, it costs more to execute a criminal than to keep them in prison due to the number of appeals, however, when Britain used the death penalty in the 1900s, only one appeal was allowed, allowing for execution within 3-8 weeks. If the UK were to keep around this number of appeals, prison costs would be criminals would not serve life in prison, so money could be used elsewhere.

Another argument which supports the death penalty is that certain methods of execution are humane. A 2008 documentary, ‘How to Kill a Human Being’ by Michael Portillo, investigated the ways in which execution is carried out. It found that nitrogen hypoxia (lack of oxygen through breathing in pure nitrogen) allowed the criminal to die without pain or discomfort, which allowed for a feeling of peace before falling unconscious and eventually passing away. This method is not currently used to execute human beings; however, it is used to kill animals in the farming industry and there has been scientific evidence and testing to show that this is as humane as possible.

The reasons for supporting the death penalty include costs, deterrence, the safety of the public and seriousness of crimes. I believe that finding humane methods of execution and preventing criminals from re-offending is extremely important. These arguments for the death penalty are strong and have valid points behind them, arguments against the death penalty are equally as powerful and thought-provoking.

An ideology which opposes the death penalty is rehabilitation. This is the opinion that all behavior can be changed and improved, meaning that criminals should be given the opportunity to become better people and change their ways instead of automatic execution.

One of the largest arguments as to why the UK should not reintroduce the death penalty is that lives should not be taken. The death penalty is clearly a denial of the human right to live. This opposes the ideology of retribution because although the criminal may have committed a serious crime, nobody deserves to be killed. ‘The value of the offender’s life cannot be destroyed by their crime-even if they have killed someone.’.

Another argument which opposes the death penalty is that there will always be the possibility that a person can be wrongly sentenced or new evidence emerges to prove their innocence. The death penalty cannot be reversed, so the risk of inevitable errors will always be too high. ‘As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated’. In the USA, over 150 people have been wrongly sentenced to death and then released since 1973. This shows that mistakes can happen and that in some cases, people can be found guilty of crimes they did not commit (Amnesty International).

An argument against the death penalty is that the current methods of execution have been found to cause pain and discomfort before death, which can be seen as inhumane ways of killing people. In some cases, the electric chair (used in 7 US states) fails to kill the criminal effectively and causes unnecessary pain. On the 6th October 2985, William Vandiver was given a 2,300-volt electrocution, however, he was still breathing, until after 17 minutes and 5 bursts of electricity he was finally pronounced dead. A witness to the execution described ‘smoke and the smell of burning’. The reasons opposing the death penalty include the risks of killing an innocent person, inhumane methods of execution, denial of human rights. By taking both sides into account, I believe that the arguments against the death penalty are stronger than those for the death penalty.

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To conclude this report and to answer the essay question, I believe that the UK should not reintroduce the death penalty. I believe that risk of killing an innocent person outweighs deterrence and costs. Human life should not be destroyed, especially when there can be other ways to deal with behavior. Therefore, I believe that the death penalty should not be used as punishment under any circumstances.

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Should the UK reintroduce the death penalty. (2018, Jun 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from
“Should the UK reintroduce the death penalty.” GradesFixer, 15 Jun. 2018,
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