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With increased incidences of crimes and criminal offences across the world, all governments have been implementing different laws and restrictions to help maintain peace and unity. Law enforcement agencies have been formed and given mandate to ensure that laws are fully followed. Every crime or offense has its penalty which is different in some country. There are various kinds of laws that are being used in different countries to punish the wrongdoings in accordance to their Constitution. Different kinds of courts have been formed across the world with International Criminal Court (ICC) being the major international court. Court judgment is based on the violation that has been done or on the crime that has been committed. For instance in sharia law, judgment of the court is fulfilled in accordance to the offense committed, that is, if you cut your friends hand, you hand will be also cut if proven guilty. In other courts, judgment and resulting penalties are different ranging from being imprisoned for certain period of time, forced to do community work without payment, life imprisonment or death penalty. Judgment is always based upon the seriousness of crime committed and constitution of a given country. However, while death penalty is used in some countries today as a mean of punishing criminal offences, it has raised many questions on whether it should be considered as an option or not. There are many people who support that death penalty should be used while others have different opinion renouncing it with all means possible. However, when looking at its impact not only to the victim, but to the victim’s family and the entire society, and the ways through which it is executed, death penalty is needed to be banned. Therefore, due to this fact the extensive discussion and analysis of the reasons for banning death penalty is needed, and this paper is going to contribute to this discussion.
Despite harsh debate that is going on in regard to whether the death penalty should be banned or not, it is being applied currently. Death is used as punishment for certain crimes across the world. Hanging is the main method used to execute this penalty. However, after examining its consequences and the possible means of execution, there is the increased number of views and opinions that death penalty should be banned. Death penalty refers to the court ruling that an offender should be punished by taking his/her life for committing certain crime once proven guilty (Yorke, 2008). There are many examples of people who have been punished with death penalty for committing a variety of crimes including mass genocide, forced child labor, terrorist, and murder, among others. In the United States of America, death is used as a penalty for certain offenses today. People have ranging views on this issue with some regarding it as being barbaric and other people perceiving it as justice being served better this way. Nevertheless, there is a list of legitimate reasons for death penalty to be banned as a form of punishment due to increased negative effects that it has on the offender, victim, and nation at large.
According to Yorke (2008), the death penalty should be banned because it causes a lot of financial stress on taxpayers. The cost of putting a felon to death is much more expensive when compared to a criminal serving life imprisonment. The death penalty is two to five times more costly to taxpayers depending on different variables. These expenses in most cases result from the proceeding which the court ought to undergo in order to approve this kind of penalty, including endless appeals, additional required processes, and legal squabbling that haul the process out. Secondly, these proceedings could take many years to end, and in fact it is not unusual for a convict to spend 15 to 20 years on a death row. Great investment comes with a great time; hence we ought to ask ourselves whether it is really essential to keep death penalty when it is one just of the options.
Additionally, it should be banned because the worst imaginable penalty available for people to confer upon a criminal is natural life in prison. With death penalty, the criminal does not require to undergo much psychological and physiological pain. This is due to the fact that a criminal would potentially have decades to think about what he did and would have been forced to imprisonment for the rest of his days in case of natural life in prison (Yorke, 2008). Criminals will also be staying in a hostile environment with the depressing conditions in prisons, offering an even bigger and more commendable penalty. The fact that criminals will not be viewed as martyrs, but perceived as evil, uncaring human beings is the other positive side for the society of having a convict to spend life in prison as the most horrible penalty. We do not want other people to feel empathy towards these kinds of criminals.
Death Penalty Can Harm Innocent People
Yorke (2008) stipulates that while it is believed that death penalty helps preventing violent offenses, brings criminals to justice for families of victims, and portrays powerful social denunciation for premeditated murder, it does not warranty these outcomes at all, thus it should be banned. When looking at the capital punishment systems in action one would realize that the sole purpose that it serves is revenge or retribution. It is basically and seriously flawed in application and there is an enduring risk of executing innocent individuals, in addition to costing much more compared to life in prisons.
The most annoying issue is that absolutely blameless people have been condemned to execution. Quite a number of them, 130 were unfairly convicted and therefore doomed to die. Luckily they were absolved and released in the long run. The problem is that DNA is obtainable in less than 10% of all murders, thus it cannot insure that guiltless people will not lose their lives due to mistakes in the flaws in investigation process. It is therefore apparent that if an individual is convicted and found innocent later, he/she can be discharged from prison, but a person who was unjustly executed cannot be revived (Yorke, 2008).
Death Penalty Is Impious
Yorke (2008) asserts that supposedly death penalty is right then it is good as well, and supposedly it is wrong, it is bad as well. Our first anxiety is supposed to be what the Bible teaches in regard to the decision of sentencing people to death. Should we find out that, then it will not matter what philosophers, theologians, criminologists, sociologist, whining and whimpering liberals have to assert in regard to this topic. This is because Genesis 9:6 teaches clearly that suppose a man sheds blood of another person, then government will take his life. Moses also wrote that “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Thus, when an individual cold-heartedly takes a life, he does not only assaults society but attacks God as well because man was made in God’s image. Nonetheless, we are also commanded by God not to kill, hence killing is wrong, but even shrewd Sunday school pupils are aware that that the Book clearly states that “Thou shalt do no murder.” Therefore, we should not actually murder.
Nearly all governments ought to be secular, although you can get argument both for and against the death penalty in the Bible, for those who invoke Christian law in this issue. The New Testament- describing the life of Jesus- is principally anti-death punishment. For instance, Jesus praises mercy in the sermon on the mountain (Mathew 5:7) and rejects tit for tat “an eye for an eye” (Mathew 5:38-39) (Yorke, 2008). James 4:12 stipulates that God is the only one capable of taking life in the name of justice. Jesus himself says in John 8:7 that let he who is not a sinner cast the stone first.
However, while some people argue that the Bible supports death penalty, others argue that it denounces death penalty. At the same time, the truth is that the Bible only identifies and recognizes existence of government. Thus, the saying “suppose a man sheds blood of another person, then government will take his life” does not mean that the government will kill him/her. Imprisonment is equal to taking somebody’s life since he/she will be under government’s control. In the Ten Commandments, God commands us not to kill. Thus, we are supposed to respect laws of the land and government, but we shall not kill no matter the crime committed.
Death Penalty May Lead the Court Work to Be Ineffective
Death punishment is supposed to be forbidden due to the fact that it leads our court systems to be much less effective. It is difficult for the court to move along to other things if it ought to keep solving the different actions by the defense due to broad proceedings that are supposed to be held in order for execution to take place (Yorke, 2008). A lot of Judge’s, attorney’s and other court workers’ time is monopolized by numerous appeals, motions, hearings, briefs, among others instead of dedicating that time to other important issues on the list. The court system would move faster and more effectively through other cases that are of huge importance if it were not for all these obstacles related to death penalty decision.
Capital punishment have been used to prevent serious offenses in many states. Nevertheless, the death punishment is not a prevention of violent offenses. After capital punishment was banned by the US Supreme Court in 1976, it turned out that the level of violent crimes and level of executions were directly proportional. From 1982 through 1991, the level of crime in the USA grew by 5%, the rate of crime in Texas increased by 24% and the level of violent crimes increased by 46% (Yorke, 2008). In essence, statistics reveals that the states that have higher number of executions and practice the capital punishment have increased aggression crime rates compared to those that execute fewer offenders or do not practice this form of punishment. It is also suggested by this statistics that the capital punishment contributes to demoralization of the society.
According to Yorke (2008), the capital punishment is barbarous and cruel penalty, and the worst thing is that it carries on the circle of violence. Death sentence will not put off future violent offenses even though it is a sign of firm denunciation of monstrous crimes. Instead, capital punishment will harm more individuals. Yorke (2008) mentions that “Edna Weaver, whose daughter Tina Lambriola was killed by William Sever, Jr. in New Jersey in 2002, said that she not only wanted Sever’s life spared, but also hoped that his mother would be spared the pain of losing a child” (Yorke, 2008). Weaver said that she did not want anybody to feel the way she did, because it was a feeling words could not express, and that at least Sever’s mother would be capable of writing to him and sending things to him. What is at issue is that since killing is considered to be a heinous action, execution of criminals can never contribute to high moral standards. Thus, in order to break the circle of violence the death penalty should be prohibited.
The other reason that has been brought out clearly is that more poor people are executed compared to rich people, thus in order to contribute to justice, society should not execute any individuals. Many poor people are executed for killing due to the fact that they commit more homicides (Yorke, 2008). After all, there is larger percentage of poor people compared to the rich ones. It is also apparent and does not require to be described that rich people do not normally have the reasons to murder. Therefore, when a rich individual murders another person, he or she should be sentenced to death the same way poor people do.
Furthermore, African Americans are executed more often compared to whites, yet the United States Supreme Court ruled that the death punishment does not discriminate against blacks. In addition, it was revealed by a Stamford University study that murderers of whites are more probable to get sentenced to death, whether the killer is African American or Caucasian, compared to killers of black people given the same set of variables (Yorke, 2008). However, blacks who murder whites were less probable to be punished by death sentences compared to whites who killed whites.
To be brief, death penalty should be banned. In contemporary advanced world, we should implement other alternative penalties that will affect the criminal alone, and not his family and the entire society. After examining the effects of death penalty, it is apparent that death sentence has been negatively affecting people, promoting violent crime, and delivering justice. Since life imprisonment has proved to be the most effective mean of rendering justice to victims, and that it affects only the criminal under question, it will be wise to drop death penalty in favor of life imprisonment. By adopting life imprisonment, the taxpayers will be relieved from a burden of paying more taxes that are directed towards facilitating long proceedings and hearings followed in handling cases that will lead to death sentence. Pain of the criminal’s families would have been eliminated. And the criminal would be provided with an adequate amount of time to review whatever he did. With cases of convicting innocent people being on increase, imprisonment will be providing people, who have been accused falsely, with a chance to be freed whenever it is proved that they were imprisoned falsely. Therefore, looking at the impacts of death penalty and advantages of life imprisonment as a penalty, it is possible to see that there is actually an urgent need to ban death penalty and adopt use of other penalties.
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