Karla News

A Moral Look at Capital Punishment

Death Penalty, The Death Penalty

Capitol Punishment: A moral look

I believe that capitol punishment is needed in our society. Although I believe this I do not think that it should be used in all cases. The system of capitol punishment needs to be reexamined and fixed so that it will better suit the world we live in today. In this paper I will show the different sides of this immense topic and convince the reader that capitol punishment is necessary.
Capitol punishment, i.e. the death penalty has been around since the dawn of time. It is now the 21st century and the processes and thoughts behind the death penalty have changed very little. It is about time that we reexamine the issue and try to make some progress on making it fair and just when someone is sentenced to death.

Is the death penalty morally permissible?

Whenever this question is raised, may it be a moral debate or a high school ethics class, someone always brings up the age-old saying, an Eye for an Eye. I believe that this is true to some degree. Of course with everything in this world, there are always exceptions. Some of the exceptions where the death penalty should not be dispensed would be, self-defense, accidental death, and if the person is severely mentally challenged. “I support the death penalty as the appropriate punishment for some crimes. But all responsible Americans must address the problems facing our capital punishment system.” said Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). “The ultimate tragedy would be taking the life of a person for a crime he did not commit.” (Capitol Hill March7, 2001)
The death penalty is permissible in my eyes, but only if the person really did commit the crime. A lot of times a person is found guilty of a heinous crime and they find out that they were not guilty at all. Luckily before the death sentence was carried out.

A good example is the case of Clarence Brandley in 1980. He was convicted of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old student where he worked as a janitor. He was sentenced to death and went to death row. Six years later, a woman approached the prosecutor of his case and claimed that her husband had confessed to the murder for which Brandley had been condemned. The prosecutor refused to act on this new information and it was another four years before the unreliability of the evidence and testimony at the original trial was conclusively established. After losing ten years of his life to a prison cell, Clarence Brandley’s conviction was overturned and he was released from death row. (Rowell N/A) Like I stated earlier, this occurs more often than one would expect. In the last 24 years 85 people convicted of capitol crimes have had their convictions overturned and released from prison. (Rowell N/A).

See also  How to Create a Copyright

Many people might say this is good enough reason why there should not be a death penalty; I think it just says that the court system, when it comes to these sorts of cases needs to be reevaluated. Jurors need to be more careful when they dispense with their sentencing. They need to make sure that the evidence is not just coincidental. Sending a true murderer to life in prison is not a just or fair sentence. No matter what kind of life he or she will have it is still life. Their victim did not get a chance for life. They are dead and they have no life, good or bad. Matthew 5:38 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime?

Does the death penalty deter crime? I believe that yes it does. People who are strong opponents to the death penalty will try and show statistics and accounts that say that murder rates have not dropped since the death penalty was put back in to place. “The murder rate was 8.8 in 1976, when the death penalty was made legal. From 1976-95, the murder rate hovered between 7 and 10. In 1995 there were 56 executions and the murder rate was right back where it started in 1976, at 8. Little change means little deterrence.”(Mullen N/A)

Although the figures are probably true I do not agree with the conclusion that most anti-death penalty advocates derive from it. I think it strongly shows that it deters crime. The murder rate in this country has pretty much stayed the same; it has not risen, proving that fear of the death penalty is working. The world has changed a lot and become a lot harsher since 1976. If the death penalty had not been in effect from 1976 to 1995 it is a great possibility that the murder rate would have skyrocketed during this period. To repeal the death penalty would be ethically wrong because you would be endangering lives of many innocent people just to please a few guilty consciences.
Prison costs?
Prison operating costs in New York State have risen by 148 percent since 1983, while the number of inmates has increased only 93 percent. It is estimated that the state’s prison population will grow from the current 54,900 to 74,400 by the year 2000. Operating costs in New York are $24,173 per inmate. (NCPA N/A)
This information says a lot. Many workers in this country make a lot less than the $24,173 a year that is costs to house a criminal. These workers are giving to society and living because of their hard work. These inmates, many of whom have committed harsh crimes, are getting a free ride for life. They don’t have to worry about living paycheck to pay check.
This is ethically wrong. It says to criminals that they don’t have to worry about getting caught because they will be well taken care of if found guilty. Now if you were to take away the possibility of a death penalty then criminals will not think twice to commit the harsh crime.

See also  Ethics and Current Events

Many ideas have surfaced for way to lower prison costs, but one idea is very scary. The idea is that to lower prison costs and the cost to kill a prisoner is to televise the execution. In fact there have been a few movies that have toyed with this idea.
To kill someone to punish them for a heinous crime is one thing, but to make a profit off of another mans death defeats the purpose of the execution and prison system entirely. The repercussions of this could and most likely be drastic. Sure the networks would be in a bidding frenzy and offer millions of dollars to televise it but what if someone sees this and decides to kill someone? Also what if this does stop people from murdering. When there is no one left on death row will they add more by any means necessary, like sentencing a person to the death penalty who otherwise would not of been? If we were to do this society would eventually revert back to the days of the old west where people watched hangings for fun and did not think twice about what really happened or that the dead man used to be a human being.

In conclusion, I say that the death penalty should stay in effect and be brought back to the many states that do not have the death penalty in effect. If all the states had the death penalty maybe crime would be lowered instead of staying the same. I hope this paper has shed a little bit more light on this vast topic. If I have changed the mind or at least made one person have the ability to see the other side of the story then the time and hard work I have spent would have been worth it.

See also  The Death Penalty in the State of Indiana