The capital punishment is the manner of execution. Capital Punishment has been a part of several cultures in history. The term “capital” comes from Latin word caput, which means “head”. It has its root origins in the European tribal practices that involved beheading to punish prisoners. In today’s contexts, it is also called as death penalty. Capital punishment is the most severe punishment, as it is a form of death penalty inflicted on those convicted for crimes punishable by law.
Essay on Capital Punishment | Pros, Cons, Importance
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The sentence that someone be punished in such a manner is referred to as a death sentence, whereas the act of carrying out the sentence is known as an execution.
Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences, and they commonly include offences such as murder, treason, espionage, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
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Capital punishment has many forms in various countries. In some countries such as Japan, China, Singapore and the U.S., a majority of the people remain supportive of execution, whereas in most European countries a majority are opposed to it – with 94 percent of all respondents opposing its introduction in Latvia.
Methods of Capital Punishment
There are five methods of execution: Lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, firing squad and gas chamber. All of these methods were designed to be as humane as possible, so that it would not turn into a torture session.
In Lethal Injection the condemned person is strapped to a gurney and lethal drugs are administered intravenously. In Electrocution, the condemned person is strapped into a chair and an electric current is sent through their body killing them instantaneously. It was considered humane by its proponents because it would cause immediate cessation of brain function, but it did not always work to plan, leaving many prisoners to die a slow and painful death.
Hanging is also a common method for execution. It does not require any fancy medical training and the equipment can usually be found in most prisons. The condemned person is secured by placing them standing, or more frequently, on a stool inside a specially built scaffold with trapdoor beneath the scaffold.
In Firing Squad, a group of trained marksmen stand in formation and are tasked with simultaneously shooting the condemned prisoner with precisely aimed shots. In Gas Chamber, a poison gas is introduced into an airtight chamber where the condemn is forced to inhale it.
Importance of Capital Punishment
The general theory behind capital punishment is that when people commit horrible crimes, they deserve to die. There are many arguments in favor of the death penalty which can be put up with various degrees of validity. According to Gallup poll conducted in May 2011, 64% of Americans are in favor of this method for punishing murder.
It is a deterrent to crime: This is the strongest argument in favor of capital punishment. According to this theory, people try to weigh risks and benefits before committing a crime and if they know that there is a good chance that they will get caught and sentenced to death, they are less likely to commit such crimes.·
Capital Punishment can stop criminals from repeating their crimes: This is probably the weakest argument in favor of the death penalty. There might be some cases where this is true, especially by mentally ill people who cannot control their behavior, but for most criminals it does not matter if they are sentenced to life in prison or executed. Capital Punishment can be a useful tool for society: It satisfies the sense of moral outrage people feel after particularly heinous crimes have been committed.
Arguments Against Capital Punishment:
The strongest argument against capital punishment is that it violates the Constitutional protection of humans, afforded to all citizens in the 8th Amendment. It means that death penalty can be used only for very serious crimes and cannot be handed out as a punishment by sheer majority vote.
- In some cases innocent people might be put to death: The death penalty is irreversible and the risk of executing an innocent person simply cannot be dismissed. Hundreds of such cases have been documented since 1972.
- Capital Punishment is expensive: It costs much more than life imprisonment. This puts a great burden on taxpayers who pay for it and consequently it can be a motive for a state to be unable to provide humane living conditions to prisoners.
- Capital Punishment is applied in an unfair way: Since it can only be used as an ultimate punishment for the most serious crimes, those who have been found guilty of such crimes tend to come from underprivileged groups as well as African Americans and Latinos. In some states like Texas minorities make up more than half of all executions. In 2010, 47% of death row inmates were black, even though they only make up about 12% of the population. This clearly shows that capital punishment is discriminatory in its nature
Capital Punishment seems like a barbaric way of dealing with criminal behavior and violates the core values of our justice system. It is also applied in an unfair manner, especially to underprivileged members of society. The main argument for capital punishment is that it deters crime but there is no evidence that this actually works.
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Opinions are divided on this subject and it is not an easy issue to deal with. Some people think that the world would be a better place without murderers, rapists and other criminals but at the same time they do not want to resort to methods similar to those used in terrorist regimes.