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Social Theory: Death Penalty of Serious Crimes - EnvironAssessment Answers

December 29, 2017
Author : Julia Miles

Solution Code: 1ACIF


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Part A

Overview of the Topic (death penalty of serious crimes)

There have been serious debates on whether serious crimes should be punished through death penalty. That debate has always divided politicians and policy makers into two drifts. Governments in the UK and in the US have been forced to be quiet regarding the issue However, crime rates and homicides have been on the rise posing serious challenges and dilemma on the issue. As of 2014 in October 32 states in the US had death penalty. However, some states have been forced to abolish the death penalty. In March 2013 Maryland became the latest State to abolish the death penalty (Kronenwetter, 2015).

Argument in Support of the issue

Most of the people argue that death penalty is necessary since it removes the worst criminals from the society. That ensures that the prisons remain safe and the society is free from the evil people. In addition, the tax payers money that is spent on the prisons for the murders until they face their natural deaths can be saved and used to help the poor people in the society and hence they should be executed. Retribution is also a reason why death penalty should be upheld. That is because many victims and family members feel a sense of satisfaction by seeing the people who committed crimes against them dying (Radelet, 2014). In addition, the number of people killed by death penalty is relatively lower than the rest of the population hence there is not so much effect felt for that. Approximately 99.6% of people are not murderers in this world hence there is no fear if 0.4% of them die (Norman, 2014). Death penalty has also led to deterrence meaning that homicides especially in states that permit death penalty has reduced. For example, in Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Delaware the number of executions have significantly reduced due to deterrence. Since death penalty was abolished in 1964 the cases of unlawful killings have doubled giving more weight on why death penalty is acceptable. Statistics indicated that 5 years after abolishing of the death penalty in Britain there was 125% increase in unlawful murders. Edward Koch in his article argues that the society will only learn that cold murder is not acceptable only if the perpetrators of murder are killed (Radelet, 2014).

Arguments Opposing the Issue

There are many reasons why people argue that death penalty should be abolished. One of the reasons is that murder is not as violent as other crimes like rape and terrorism. In fact, terrorist are the worst murders but rarely are they convicted with a death penalty. Edward Koch in his article argues that people should not be killed despite their actions because death is barbaric. Koch further states that the bible in the 10 commandments states that thou should not kill. It is therefore argued that we should not kill and let God in his natural ways hand the statement of death to His people. Since 1977 in the US 900 executions have been conducted. These executions have been done through lethal injections (Koch E, 1985, p. 585). However, 40 of them were botched indicating that some of the convicts were acquitted from their charges indicating that they could be innocent. As much as the states rush to kill the convicts some of them might be innocent. Moreover, in most cultures and communities death penalty is not encouraged and is unlawful and hence not accepted. Moreover, the most developed nations are also seen to be suffering from such issues with most reserved countries in Africa and Asia abstaining from death penalty due to their culture. There are also other alternative ways that the society can use to correct the death convicts rather than killing them. The prisons and other corrective institutions play an important role in the society of correcting such individuals and hence they should not be killed. In addition, we have also seen of cases of people who have been rehabilitated and are living a good life in the society. We need to live as brothers and sisters and human is to error and hence death penalty is quiet harsh. The State of Maryland was forced to abolish death penalty because it is so expensive. A comparison was done regarding a convict imprisoned for life and a convict that will be murdered. It was noted that death penalty was quite expensive. Estimates indicate that executions can use around $3-4 million while keeping a prisoner in prison for a year will cost the taxpayer $30-35000 a year (Kronenwetter, 2015).

My Opinion

My opinion about the death penalty is that the penalty should remain but it should convict serious offenses. For example the terrorists engaged in the 9/11 attack deserve to die. Terrorists who have engaged in massacre like shooting in schools and in other places deserve to die. Terrorists like the ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and many other terrorists deserve to die. That is because these people are engaged in massive death of people at once. I would also argue that those convicts who have been found guilty of murder also deserve to die. However, under certain circumstances murder occurs unintended. For example, a man driving a car and hits a family and kills them on the spot. Such a circumstance is so painful but it was unintended even though it is still murder. Meanwhile, it is also recommended that death penalty should be abolished because it is expensive. Such cases involving murder usually takes a longer time and involves a lot of money compared to death. It is also my opinion that death penalty should be abolished because it has always targeted the blacks and people of other races. Statistics indicate that most of the people convicted of first degree murder are blacks followed by Latina. Human rights activists have been following the issue up and argue that death penalty should be abolished since it goes against the human rights. In addition, racism has also affected the manner in which death penalty cases are judged indicating issues of prejudice (Norman, 2014).

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