The Death Penalty Discussion Essay Example

Many people have been killed by the death penalty all over the world. The Death Penaltyis a government-sanctioned practice where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime that they committed. The death penalty has been used since the Eighteenth Century B.C. and there are better ways to help someone rather than kill them, there have been many mistakes up until now and lots of discrimination, and this is why it should be abolished.

The history of the death penalty or capital punishment was designed with many flaws. The government realized that they were using the death penalty too often and “Capital punishment for murder, treason, arson, and rape was widely employed in ancient Greece under the laws of Draco (fl. 7th-century BCE), though Plato argued that it should be used only for the incorrigible. The Romans also used it for a wide range of offenses, though citizens were exempted for a short time during the republic.” (“Capital Punishment”). When the death penalty was made, it was used for people who had committed serious crimes that were not able to get helped or stop committing those crimes. Different religions had different rules. For example “In Islamic law, as expressed in the Qurʾān, capital punishment is condoned. Although the Qurʾān prescribes the death penalty for several ḥadd (fixed) crimes—including robbery, adultery, and apostasy of Islam—murder is not among them. Instead, murder is treated as a civil crime and is covered by the law of qiṣās (retaliation), whereby the relatives of the victim decide whether the offender is punished with death by the authorities or made to pay 

diyah (wergild) as compensation.” (“Capital Punishment”). In Islamic law history, murder was not allowed and was treated as a civil crime, and the family of the victim got to decide if the offender was punished by death or not and could pay instead. The government had trouble deciding which crimes were punishable by death, and what the extent of their punishment should be. “Historically, most felonies were punishable by death, so increasingly cruel methods of execution had to be developed in order to punish those crimes that were considered to be the most serious violations of social norms.” (“Retributive Justice”). When the government started to realize that most crimes were punishable by death, they decided to make more cruel ways to punish someone for the crimes that were considered the most serious. This shows how they did not care that they were punishing too many people by death and did not help the prisoners become better people. Keeping prisoners in cells and killing them is not going to help them become better people. They will only become better people if the jail could provide rehab for the prisoners. Even the family of the victim will not feel any better that they decided to put someone to death because of what the offender did to their family member. The government could have thought more about how to help the prisoners instead of hurt them over time.

The Government says that the death penalty is made for the more serious crimes and that whoever does those crimes should be sentenced to death although, the government treats people with different religions, races, or people who have more money than others differently. They have later found that the person who committed the crime was innocent and should not have been sentenced to death. For example “Since 1973, for example, more than 160 prisoners sent to death row in the USA have later been exonerated or released from death row on grounds of innocence. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.” (“Why Amnesty”). 

This matters because it shows that many people have been proven innocent after being killed or how many people have been proven innocent right before they were about to serve their punishment. This may happen because, in the past, the government only spent 15 minutes reviewing the case, which caused many mistakes to be made. Also, “Innocent people are too often sentenced to death.  Since 1973, over 156 people have been released from death row in 26 states because of innocence.  Nationally, at least one person is exonerated for every 10 that are executed.” (“The Case”). This shows how there have been too many mistakes recently that the government makes because they do not spend enough time reviewing the case, “In 96% of states where there have been reviews of race and the death penalty, there was a pattern of either race-of-victim or race-of-defendant discrimination or both.” (“Facts About”). People of different races or religions are being sentenced to the death penalty more often than other people. For example, people of color are more likely to be sentenced than white people, especially when the victim is white. On a spreadsheet, it shows that there have been 90 black prisoners who got sentenced, while there were 64 white prisoners who were sentenced in the early 2000s. An organization against the death penalty says “Although international law says that the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the most serious crimes, meaning intentional killing, Amnesty believes that the death penalty is never the answer.” (“Why Amnesty”). The death penalty was originally made to punish people who had committed serious crimes, Amnesty, a non-governmental organization with its headquarters in the United Kingdom that has many supporters from all around the world, believes that nobody should have to die, and prisons should be made to help people recover and become better people. There have been too many mistakes by proving someone is innocent, and discrimination, this shows how prisons can be used to help the offenders instead of keeping them locked up and killing them. 

Critics have a lot to say about the death penalty, they believe that the way someone’s punishment gets decided is too outdated. “Of course, no punishment theory is without its critics. Many of those who criticize retribution argue that the philosophy is outdated. As societies become more civilized, they should outgrow the need or desire for revenge. Others note that punishing criminals just because they have acted inappropriately does not address any underlying issues that may have led to the crimes in the first place. Some offenders need treatment rather than punishment; without treatment, the cycle of crime will continue unabated.” ("Retributive justice"). Punishing criminals because of the way they acted, does not help solve why they acted that way. Without knowing what made the offender act like that, they will not know how to help in the future. The offender has to worry about what their punishment will be. Will they be sentenced to death? Will they be served a lifetime or two in jail? “Finally, a few critics note that doing unto others what they have done unto you is not as fair as it may initially seem. The victim suffered only the injury, but the offender must suffer both the injury and the anxiety of waiting for the injury to be imposed as punishment.” ("Retributive justice"). This explains how the offender has to go through the injury of what caused them to act the way they did and go through the anxiety of not knowing what their punishment will be, and the victim only has to go through the injury. This is not fair because no human should deserve to die because of the way they acted.  Other people have said “A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one that endorses killing to solve social problems – the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, and especially children. Governments worldwide have often attempted to justify their lethal fury by extolling the purported benefits that such killing would bring to the rest of society. The benefits of capital punishment are illusory, but the bloodshed and the resulting destruction of community decency are real.” (“The Case”). The death penalty is not setting a good example for citizens especially children who are still growing up and learning in this community. Critics and other people believe that the death penalty should be abolished because of the citizens living and growing up in this community. They should be able to feel safe.

The death penalty should be abolished because of the mistakes and discrimination that have been made like proving someone is innocent after being put on the death sentence, and that people of color are more likely to be sentenced. Prisons should be used to help people recover from what made them act up instead of killing them for the crime that they committed.



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