Argument on Death Penalty
The death penalty is a legal process in which an individual is executed by the state as a penalty for a felony. Crimes that can lead to the death penalty are referred to as capital offenses or capital felonies. Presently, 58 countries are practicing the death penalty, and it has been abolished in almost 97 countries. European Union member states proscribe the use of the death sentence. Its methods of execution in countries that practice it include shooting, hanging, the gas chamber, lethal injection, beheading and the electric chair. There are those who are for and against the death penalty.
Its advocates say that the death penalty helps to keep the worst kinds of criminals out the society given that they are permanently incarcerated. Hence, it keeps the society safer for everybody. They also argue that the death penalty, not against any is morals because it grants the best justice for the victim and helps lessen the psychological pain of friends and family of the victim because they are assured that the offender will never commit such a crime again. This provides them with peace of mind.
There is a requirement that the punishment must always be proportional to the crime committed. The most severe crimes are liable for the most severe punishments. This makes it right and fair to execute serious offenders. They argue that the victims of the offenders also suffered in their hands so they should be made to feel the same or worse. Thus, those who commit vicious crimes like serial killing and child murdering deserve the death penalty.
The death sentence upholds the golden rule, which states that you should do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Therefore, if you mercilessly rape and kill an innocent victim, then the same fate should befall you because it is what you deserve. There are Religious believers who advocate for the death penalty. For example, some Christians refer to the Old Testament on the principle of life for life and maintain that prosecuted murderers should impartially receive death because of their actions. They also say that the book of Leviticus gives a list of offenses for which execution is recommended. The books of Genesis and Romans are also reported to support the death penalty.
In most states where death sentences are carried out, there has to be a practicing physician present during execution. In states where the method of execution is the gas chamber, the law dictates that a physician be present to manage the heart monitor. There are states that require two physicians should be present, one who is in charge of the heart monitor and the other to announce the time of death. In states where the method of execution is the lethal injection, the physician’s work is to ensure that the right amount of the fluid is being used. Execution by electrocution requires a physician or a medical practitioner to be present to examine the body and declare that the victim is dead.
There are, however, cases where physicians are summoned to attend executions and they refuse. Some refuse because of their different religious beliefs while others feel that the death penalty is inhuman as it is their job to save lives and not to take it. Although these cases are rare, they happen. Such physicians and medical practitioners are most times fired from their designated places of work, and others are suspended pending investigations. Some face transfers to worse places.
Those against the death penalty argue that sometimes-innocent people are executed. This, they claim, is a miscarriage of justice and these people cannot be compensated. There are also those who are wrongly convicted of having committed first-degree murder when in the real sense they should have been convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter whose sentence is not the death penalty. These mistakes are often realized after the victims have been killed.
The death penalty denies the criminals the chance of rehabilitation. We are all equal, and we all deserve equal opportunities and treatment in life. The criminals should be allowed to reform and go back into the society as changed people just like all other criminals of minor offenses. It would be better to imprison them for life to give them a chance to admit their mistakes and better themselves. There is psychiatric help in prisons that will help to achieve this.
These critics have the belief that capital punishment and death sentences have no place in the modern democratic world. It is old fashioned, outdated and should be abolished. A barbaric practice shows no compassion to the value of the human life. Executions are not always painless and quick. Some take a long time especially in cases of lethal injections where the wrong amount of dosage was used or when it is not effective enough. Sometimes electrocution burns the inmates to death.
The death penalty is expensive. It costs three times as much to keep an inmate locked up for life imprisonment. That is wasting the state’s money. That money should be used for projects like rehabilitation of prisoners. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is against brutal and extraordinary punishment. The death penalty is both cruel and unusual regardless of the method of execution used. It is, therefore, unconstitutional.
Pojman, Louis P, and Jeffrey H. Reiman. The Death Penalty: For and against. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998. Internet resource.
Breach of Trust: Physician Participation in Executions in the United States. Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians, 1994. Print.