Capital Punishment


In the past, people have invariably felt that if they had
been wronged in some way, it was their right to take
vengeance on the person that had wronged them. This
mentality still exists, even today, but in a lesser form
because the law has now outlined a person's rights and
developed punishments that conform to those rights, yet
allow for the retribution of their crime. However, some
feel that those laws and punishments are too lax and
criminals of today take advantage of them, i.e. organized
crime, knowing very well that the punishments for their
crime, whether it be murder, theft, or any other number of
criminal activities, will be so negligible that it may be
well worth their risk.
Although in the past, the number of crimes that were
subjected to capital punishment, defined simply as the
death penalty for a crime, were outrageous. Amendments were
made to reflect the changes in the society's views on the
morality of capital punishment. That resulted in the
narrowing down of the list of one hundred crimes to twelve,
punishable by the death penalty in 1833, and in 1869 it was
cut down yet again to just three: treason, rape, and murder
because of the violent nature of these crimes. These
crimes, even today, are still viewed as violent and should
be punished with the highest degree of discipline available
to achieve justice.
After much public pressure, capital punishment was
suspended on a trial run in 1967. This proved to be
ineffective, because even though the law stipulated that
crimes such as treason or the murder of law enforcement
agents, were still to be subjected to the death penalty,
the federal cabinet continued to commute those criminals
from death to life sentences, hence the law was not being
followed and justice was not being served. This soon was
followed with capital punishment's abolishment in 1976, as
a formal declaration of what was already happening or
rather what was not happening. It is felt that because of
this and the fact that there has not been an execution
since 1967, that today's current form of punishments are no
longer a sufficient deterrent for such serious crimes and
have contributed to an ever rising crime rate.
This is where the real issue of whether or not capital
punishment should exist begins and such a controversial
issue could be best understood if we looked at capital
punishment in a perspective of how it fulfills or does not
fulfill society's ideas of punishment. One of the four
fundamental objectives behind punishment is retribution.
The sentencing objective is based on the principle of
"an-eye-for-an-eye", which means that what one person has
done to another should also be done to that person in
return. Is that not justified, especially in cases of
premeditated murder of another human begin, another life?
Does capital punishment not act as a deterrent? Does it not
threaten with an imposition of a penalty for the commission
of an act considered wrong by society?
What about segregation? Does capital punishment remove
criminals from society so that they cannot repeat their
offense or commit other offenses against society?
Doesn't capital punishment follow the above three
objectives well?? Most people would say it does. But then,
of course, people who support the abolishment of capital
punishment would ask about rehabilitation, the re-training
of prisoners with an employable skill for use when they are
released. Not only is it expensive to re-train and house
criminals, but with some, it is just not possible, because
they are hardened criminals and will not change. For those
people, it is just not worth the effort and the taxpayers'
money to even attempt to reform them.
Also, another point to consider is that today prison terms
are not enough. Many people are allowed out early on parole
and/or remission resulting in criminals just serving one
third of their prison terms and being released back into
society. This type of quick release cannot adequately
retribute someone's death nor deter others strongly enough
from repeating the same offense that the criminals already
have committed.
As you can see, capital punishment fulfills our society's
"checklist" of what a punishment should do, especially the
objective of retribution.
Many people who want capital punishment restored, have also
clearly stated that without a suitable punishments for
crimes, justice will never truly be served to those that
have suffered damages or losses. People will think less and
less of the law and start resorting to "private law and
order". This would not only create chaos but raise the
crime rate further with people running around on private
Even with these facts and arguments, the federal government
refuses to restore the death penalty. So all we can do now
is protest to the government, wait, and hope that it will
not take a high crime rate and the loss of many innocent
lives before they realize what a mistake they made in 1976
by totally abolishing capital punishment. 


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