Death Penalty

The death penalty is capital punishment for people accused of loathsome crimes like murder, adultery, blasphemy, and others. The major purpose behind the death sentence is to reduce the crime rate and ensure public safety but its effects on criminal behaviour are still questionable. Countries all around the globe debate and question whether the death penalty should be sustained or abolished. Still, some of the countries do practice it and many have withdrawn it. The major reasons behind its withdrawal are it is against the justice system and fundamental human rights, it is irreversible and not 100% effective with many possibilities of errors. Therefore, the death penalty must not be legalized as capital punishment.

Proponents of the death penalty believe that the death penalty saves public lives because the accused person can no more commit crimes. It is regarded as a lesson for other people and discourages those who intend to do any heinous crime. It creates fear among the masses for their wrongs will cause them to be condemned anyway. They think death is the only justification for violence of any kind. Besides, they assume it is a cheaper and humane act to execute people because it is expensive for them to bear the prisoner’s expenses and therefore, prefer the death penalty to other punishments like life imprisonment.

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However, it would be a serious mistake to disregard the other side of the coin for many reasons. First, the death penalty is portrayed as a judicial murder that justifies violence with another violence. It normalizes killing people who kill other people because killing is wrong. It is against human rights as advocated by Amnesty International (an independent worldwide organization against human rights violation), according to which 106 countries (many of the world’s states) abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes in 2019. Adding to this, 120 members of the UN voted against the death penalty last year in 2020, proving the death penalty is a severe cold-blooded punishment that needs to be abolished.

Second, the rationale behind supporting the death penalty which is public safety is quite contradictory to its outcomes. The statements from the Death Penalty Information Centre indicate that in the past forty years, there have been 1,184 executions in the South compared to just four in the Northeast, and yet homicide figures in 2015 were nearly 70 percent higher in the Southern states. So, it is not the death penalty that makes any difference in public safety, but the increased number of police on roads, improved and advanced investigative tools that prevent crimes and ensure public safety.

Another argument against the death penalty is the inefficiency of the justice system with greater chances of errors. Referring to George Ryan an American politician quoted, “I support the death penalty, but I also think there has to be no margin for errors”. Quite the contrary, such an err free justice system does not exist. According to new research by Death Penalty Information Centre, a total number of 185 accused people were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in the United States. It is problematic because it is irreversible and final. When a person is wrongfully sentenced to death, the vitality of human life is taken away. Even if the sentenced person is at err, he must not be deprived of the chance to correct what has been wronged, to compensate and restore the loss. After all, everyone deserves a second chance with a belief of killing the negativity with positivity i.e., not choosing violence to kill violence.

To sum up briefly, the death penalty is not the ultimate solution for criminal behaviour. It has failed to improve the safety of human lives. It does not address the root causes of crimes as it is considered a quick and easy way to kill the criminal but not the crime. Most importantly, it is not applied fairly due to the flawed system of justice. People are more than the worst things they have ever done because they all are capable of change. There must be a chance for rehabilitation and therefore, the death penalty must be abolished as capital punishment.



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