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Since childhood, we start listening to murmurs about an atrocious crime that took place and it’s associated with people questioning themselves how a human being can do such a horrible crime where suddenly, death penalty becomes one of their demands and wishes. Death penalty to criminals and dissidents has been extremely used in the history of mankind in cases of extreme offenses such as murder, treason, terrorism, and espionage. The death penalty has been practiced in almost every single society with 58 nations having it and 95 counties that do not believe in it. Today, execution of criminals has been limited to some extent but it is still widely used. Capital punishment has become one of the great dilemmas in the world where people have divided whether it’s ethical to apply such punishment or not. Although some people find the death penalty an equitable judge, I believe that it is unethical to end someone’s life.
The first argument is every person in this world has the right to live, even the person who committed the murder; sentencing a person to death violates human rights. Capital punishment disregards the sacredness of human life. Human’s right to life is a primary right which governs all other existing rights. In its absence, all other basic rights have no reason to exist. Also, ‘Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.’ comes to approve the importance of human life. From that point, the following question can be asked: Who are we to choose whether to end someone’s life and deprive them of their major right? The government should not give itself the right to kill human beings especially when it kills with premeditation and ceremony, in the name of the law or in the name of its citizens, and when it does so in an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion. This degrading, inhuman and cruel punishment is being done under the name of justice; however, the aim of justice is to protect liberty, property, and life which are not respected when applying the death penalty.
In the second place, the death penalty has executed people who are not guilty. If this will continue more and more innocent people will die. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (1993) since 1973, over 160 individuals have been discharged from death row with proof of their guiltlessness. From 2000-2011, there has been a normal of 5 exemptions for each year. The justice system is not always 100% correct. Sometimes the juries convict the innocent. For example, Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted of arson murder. In 2004, he was put to death and later found that the evidence was misinterpreted. In many cases, bribery reached the courts and the judiciary where innocents were killed. Once the person is executed nothing can be returned, the mistake is done and there’s no way back. In addition, would we accept that some people might suffer death for what is considered as a non-crime in their home? The ordinary everyday citizen who was sent abroad on a job or to study abroad might apply some of the actions that are considered normal in their hometown; however, these actions are considered as illegal and eccentric which are associated to the death penalty as a punishment.
In the third place, retribution is a brutal way of our justice system in which they punish those who commit crimes and that the sharpness of the punishment is equivalent to the crime performed. Whereas, if we take a look, we can see that we are doing the same crime again. Killing the criminal will not bring the victim back, that’s what is called closure to the family. In fact, executing the murderer won’t heal the family faster than that if he was punished in prison. Also, retribution in all its forms has many side effects on the society in general. Whenever the retribution starts it will never end. We all have heard about the story of many people who were killed because of retribution principle without having the enough intelligence and conscious to notice that retribution is doing nothing but increasing the flow of blood. It’s opposing all the principles and ethics we should follow and teach our children about to have a safe, united, and strong society. So, how can a judgment that’s required to sustain justice and welfare be based on a principle full of violence and unresentfulness of human’s life under the pretext of revenge?
Further on, a lot of people argue that a critical punishment like execution will deter criminals from committing crimes. It’s very important to deter people from doing such horrible crimes, but the deterrence will never occur by applying the death penalty; we cannot stop killing by killing According to Radelet & Lacock (2009) “88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.” It is noteworthy that in many states that apply the death penalty, the effectiveness of the death penalty as a crime deterrent is being seriously questioned by a continuously increasing number of crimes instead. How can you expect to have well-prepared future generations that were raised on the killing principles? In fact, the generations whom their parents were sentenced to death may grow on violence and may tend to rebel against laws and to commit crimes. Also, we all know that behind every crime there is a painful reason and behind every criminal, there is a sad story. Therefore, killing a criminal will not solve anything, but “Rehabilitating” a criminal can control his thoughts and thus deter him from doing further crimes. In other words, criminal’s rehabilitation restores his useful existence in society through hundreds of hours of therapy and education. The main purpose of rehabilitation is to prevent the recurrence of a crime that has previously been committed. This prevention of habitual offending is the cure that is likely to allow the state in which the convict is situated to present the man or woman back to society with a confident outlook.
In addition, some argue that the death penalty is a punishment for society’s worst crimes. To a certain extent, they are right. Punishment is important; however, we can’t call “death” a punishment for the criminal himself. That’s why we have solitary confinement. According to Police Chief James Abbott (2010) stated that “I stand before you to say that society is better off without capital punishment. Life in prison without parole in a maximum-security detention facility is a better alternative”. How can a sinner be punished if he is physically removed from his world? Victor Hugo admonished that sins are to be washed in tears, not in blood. In other words, punishment is accomplished in life, not in death. For a punishment to have penal value, the criminal must have the chance to repent and learn not to repeat his crime. Simply, giving criminal life imprisonment without parole will make him then regret his foul deed within his long stay. However, the only difference is that his family, if he has any, won’t be the punished ones where they won’t be destroyed by that last visit on the death row.
In conclusion, in this argumentative essay I have argued that death penalty is an inappropriate way of criminal punishment and should not be applied.
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