Capital punishment is known by the Oxford dictionary as the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. 1Some crimes are especially heinous and seem to cry out for severe punishment as in the cases of murder and rape. 2Many states today have statutory provisions that provide for a capital punishment sentence for especially repugnant crimes also known as capital offenses.
The Federal government and 34 out of the 50 states permit executions for first degree murder, whereas treason kidnapping, aggravated rape, murder of a police or correctional officer, and murder while under a life sentence are punishable by death in selected jurisdictions. When considering the social, economic and religious perspectives of this topic I would have to say that I support the death penalty. I consider rape one of the most heinous crimes that could be committed. The fact that the victim has to live with that feeling of being robbed of something intangible and without the proper help they will always live in fear of their abuser and the possibility of it happening again. From a social point of view without a death penalty the offender has the opportunity to walk free after their sentence is up and who is to say they are “rehabilitated” and would not do it again.
Exposing the community to such a threat is irresponsible. When put into perspective death penalty cases cost more than non-death penalty cases which would represent a bigger cost to the government but how can we put a price on justice? 3According to the “American Values Survey” taken in September 2014 by the Public Religion research Institute “Individuals who self-identify as Protestants are somewhat more likely to endorse capital punishment than are Catholics and far more likely than those with no religious preference.
More than 7 in 10 Protestants (71%) support the death penalty, while 66% of Catholics support it. Fifty-seven percent of those with no religious preference favor the death penalty for murder.” Even though religion has no place in the pursue of justice even people with no religious preference still opt for the death penalty as a means to it. On the other hand, people who oppose the death penalty argue that its offenders can be rehabilitated, the death penalty is costly and that everyone has a fundamental right to life as part of our human rights.
Deterrence plays an important place in society; its goal is to inhibit criminal behavior through the fear of punishment. When the penalty for taking the life of someone is a minimum of 10 years doesn’t sound as scary as when we talk about a life for a life. For the State of Florida only when an offender is found guilty of murder in the first degree they are given life without parole or death, but for that it has to be determined that the murder was premeditated, otherwise it would be second degree murder and the maximum penalty for it is a life in prison sometimes with the opportunity of parole.
From a philosophical point of view John McAdams, from Marquette University’s Department of political science explains it this way: “If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. 5If we fail to execute murderers and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call.” The prevention of re-offending by execution is undeniable nut many people do not consider that a sufficient justification for taking a human life, which is where defenders of human rights come into the debate but what about the life that offender took? One could argue that capital punishment is vengeance rather than retribution or the pursue of justice.
According to justices A.S Anand and N.P. Singh, Supreme Court of India “The measure of punishment in a given case must depend upon the atrocity of the crime, the conduct of the criminal and the defenseless and unprotected state of the victim. Imposition of appropriate punishment is the manner in which the courts respond to the society’s cry for justice against the criminals. Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime.” Whether in India or in America the punishment should fit the crime which can only be achieved through a fair sentence.
In conclusion, I support the death penalty as mean to correct the wrongdoings of offenders, find retribution to the victims and, deter the likelihood of recidivism. From a social perspective the chances of offenders returning to society when they still have not being rehabilitated is significatively low. The economic impact of the death penalty on our society is still a considerably expensive one but sometimes that is the only way to achieve justice.