Should Death Penalty Exist?

The issue of whether the death penalty should exist has sparked deliberation from various critics. Capital punishment is regarded as a lawful infliction of death as a punitive measure for a broad range of offenses. Democratic countries in Europe and Latin America have abolished the implementation of a death penalty as a strategy to deter crime. However, other Democratic countries such as the US and most countries in Asia still practice it.  The proponents of the death penalty have maintained that the issue of the death penalty has a significant financial burden to the state. Another critic of death sentence has held that it is costly to implement the capital punishment. This aspect is because it usually requires a qualified health practitioner to confirm that the criminal is dead making the process more expensive. There is also no credible evidence that death sentence is the most efficient strategy of deterring crime.  Therefore, abolishing this form of punishment implies that these state can save and use other forms of punishments. This essay seeks to argue that capital punishment should be abolished in all states because it is barbaric and an outdated penalty in the Criminal Justice System.

According to Cesare Beccaria’s Theory of Deterrence, three fundamental components determines the level of punishment be executed by an individual. These components are based on the certainty, severity and celerity of a crime. The concept of certainty implies that the sentence to be executed should be done in the context of the criminal offense. Therefore, basing on this theory, the death penalty is can be considered as a severe form of punishment that is the aspect of humanitarianism. Furthermore, life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent. For instance, subjecting a criminal to a life incarceration the pain may go for decades. However, the death sentence may be too good for an individual who has committed a crime that led to much suffering such as terrorism. Hood and Hoyle also argue that there is no credible evidence to justify death penalty as an excellent method of preventing crime than the long-term imprisonments. 


It can also be argued that application of death sentence for a criminal can lead to a loss of a productive person in the society. It is because most individual subjected to this kind of punishment have a chance to reform and be influential people in the society. For instance, Nelson Mandela is a significant example of an individual spared from the death sentence and became an iconic leader in South Africa. The court had found his comrades guilty of sabotage and they were executed. Nelson Mandela pleaded before the court to be given a chance because he cherished the ideal of democracy and a free society. This aspect made the jury give him a chance, and he proved that indeed he deserved a chance to live. Today, Nelson Mandela’s achievement in bringing reconciliation between the blacks and whites in the post-apartheid era is appreciated in the whole world. It is this same leader who was spared from a death sentence that became one of the most outstanding Presidents of South Africa. Therefore, death sentence should be abolished, and the criminals are given a chance to reform and be better people in the society.

The contemporary society also has a dismissive attitude towards the issue of death penalty. Another research conducted to establish the attitude of people towards the issue of death sentence revealed that majority of the people prefer an alternative punishment than death penalty. For example, in South Carolina, another research revealed that 79% of the people wished there was a better punishment for stopping murderers apart from the death sentence. This finding suggests that the society bases more of their opinions on the utilitarian perspective that argue that people should do good to others what they would be comfortable with when done unto them. Therefore, execution can is something that the society is against, and it would be plausible to find a better solution.

There is also an argument that death penalty or executions are the most significant strategy of preventing crimes such as murder. The proponents of this argument have maintained that if murders are sentenced to death, the potential murderers will think twice for the fear of losing their lives. However, another study has revealed that the level of crime rate among the democratic states that has abolished this form of crime, and those that have not the crime rate is still same. For example, there is a higher rate of murder in the US than in European countries and Canada where the death penalty is illegal. Therefore, this finding implies that there is need to find a better form of punishment to prevent the potential murderers other than the death penalty because it has little impact. 

There are also arguments that the criminals found guilty can break out of prison and escape the justice when sentenced for life. However, the advancement in technology has enabled the use of the Real-Time Locator Systems in enhancing the security and prevention of prison breaks. This technology allows monitoring of the movements of these criminals in and outside their cell rooms. An attempt by the criminal to escape can send a signal to the security doors that triggers an automatic closure hence preventing the offenders from escaping. This technology has also been active in monitoring the movements of the criminals when they are transferred from one prison to another one in a different geographical location. Therefore, there is an enhanced security system that prevents the criminal from escaping to go and commit another crime.

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The death penalty is extremely expensive.  It is estimated that capital punishment cases use 1 million US dollars more compared to other cases.  The situation is so because the court and other official take longer periods in researching the facts. Furthermore, cases related to death are more complex as they involve more people. For instance, a group of experts must be involved to avoid wrong judgment. Failure to use these complex procedures may lead to death of innocent persons resulting from wrong judgment.  Besides, there are also lawyers involved in these cases and they also need to be paid for the whole period they will be involved in such a case. Also, every county in the US pays a monthly cost in death-penalty cases to the court.  The victim’s family also spends a lot in attending the many trials in court leading to financial constraints.  Therefore, the death penalty should be replaced with life imprisonment which is cheaper. If the death penalty were abolished, then the money spent on these cases would be used to develop the nation in other sectors. For instance, the money would be used to develop the rural areas by improving the facilities in most healthcare centers. 

Death penalty causes emotional and psychological suffering to the victim’s family.  Firstly, the many trials before the death penalty cause emotional wound to the family of the accused. Furthermore, when one has been killed, there is no way he or she will come back to live. This situation causes emotional suffering to the family members. Watching a close relative undergo the death process is usually a very painful ordeal. As such, it takes a longer time for people to heal and recover from the painful reality. It can also torture the family members because the issue will be known all over the neighborhood. As such, most people may be discriminated against because one of their own was killed following unlawful acts. The situation may adversely affect a person’s intellectual and may not be willing to interact with others. It is better if the accused was imprisoned for life because his or her family would know that he is alive and would visit from time to time. 

It may lead to the death of innocent persons. It is not surprising to find that some people who undergo death penalty are guilty. For example, a poor innocent person may be fixed and charged with rape. As such, finding a highly qualified lawyer to defend him would be difficult because of financial inability. Consequently, he may find a local lawyer who may not protect him appropriately. The court may rule that he be killed as much as he was innocent. The court may find out later that he was not involved in the act. Therefore, the poor defense can lead to death sentence.  There would also be errors in the judicial system that would result in the killing of an innocent soul.  Just as it happens that some people are found guilty after ten years of imprisonment, it is also possible to find an individual who received death penalty guilty.  Instances of death caused by strikes and commotions and lack of an accurate eyewitness can lead to the innocent accusation.  Such an occurrence can lead to the death of innocent people. The death of innocent persons is painful to their families because they are left suffering.  These innocent people would have been economically productive if they were alive. Furthermore, they would cater for their families who sometimes become a bother to the society. Therefore, the death penalty should be abolished and be replaced with life imprisonment because some people die from mistakes they never committed. 

The death penalty cases are sometimes racial based. In some regions, one may be executed with the death penalty because he or she is from the minority races. For instance, if a Black has killed a White, there is a high likelihood that the victim will be sentenced to death. On the contrary, if a White kills a Black, he or she is not likely to receive the death penalty. As a matter of fact, racism is a vice that has continued to trouble America to date. The minority groups that include the Blacks and the Hispanics are discriminated against in various aspects. For instance, The Non-Whites face injustices in health care, education, and workplaces. In healthcare, the minority races receive reduced services mainly because they cannot afford the expensive ones that are particularly meant for the Whites. Additionally, the level of education among the Blacks and the Hispanics is lower compared to the Whites. The poor level of education land them into low paying jobs. Even for those that are qualified, only a few have succeeded in the managerial levels. Therefore, injustices in courts are not an exception. The Whites are likely to be favored in most case rulings.  Besides, a case can be ruled unfairly depending on the background of those involved.  Those from affluent and political families are likely to receive fair treatment in the courts. However, the poor who mostly comprise the minority and those from marginalized areas may face harsh judgment. 

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Death Penalty is a violation of the Human Rights.  Human Rights state that a person has a right to live. Death Penalty undermines that value of human life. It creates an image that human life is easy to take depending on the depth of one’s crime. Apart from killing another person which in most cases happens for a reason, any other crime cannot equate to death. Therefore, it is so cruel to kill someone instead of letting them suffer for their mistakes while still alive. The Human Rights also emphasizes the need to protect human life. As such, when nations continue to embrace death penalty as a punishment to the wrongdoers, it violates the Human Rights principles. Other ways could be used to punish criminals without terminating their lives.

In conclusion, the death penalty is not a fair punishment for the criminals. As seen from the discussion, it has negative implications on those involved. It causes pain to the family of the victim. They become demoralized and psychologically disturbed when they remember what happened to their loved one. Additionally, some of the cases involve a lot of biases. As a result, many innocent persons may lose their lives. The death of an innocent person should not happen in any instance because they leave a gap in the society. Their absence is felt economically because everyone has a part to play in the society. This act is also a violation of Human Rights which emphasize on the Need to protect human life. Death does not bring any change in the person ones he is gone. Besides, the government spends a lot of money while attending to these death penalties. As such, the government should change the law regarding death penalties. They should implement other alternatives like life imprisonments to punish these people. Life imprisonment is beneficial because the family will not have to undergo the pain of losing the person. Furthermore, the person is likely to reform and become an important member of the society.

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