Essay on Capital Punishment: A Negative Way to Deter Crime

2308 Words 10 Pages
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot is a well known phrase that means when someone commits a wrongdoing against another person they must be punished the same way. But how far can this statement go, should the government have rights to kill someone if a person kills another? Or does anyone have the right to sentence a person to the death penalty even if they stole grapes or killed a chicken? The death penalty may limit crime, but it is not a positive form of punishment due to the financial burdens on the government, killings of the innocent, and moral and ethical issues.
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the most extreme measure of all sentencing (Schmalleger 407). The
…show more content…
However, by the 16th Century AD, Henry VIII allowed executions once again. Nearly 72,000 people were thought to have been executed during his reign (Death Penalty). During Henry VIII reign there were different forms of executing people used. Boiling, hanging, beheading, burning at the stake and drowning were used as execution methods (Death Penalty). These executions would occur for reasons such as marrying a Jew, treason, and not confessing crimes that were committed (Death Penalty). By 1700 in Britain there were 222 different crimes that could be punished by death (Frontline). A couple of these crimes were stealing or cutting down a tree (Frontline). But for 1823-1837 the death penalty began to eliminate 100 of the crimes that could cause an execution.
In 1767, Cesare Beccaria wrote an essay, On Crimes and Punishment, which discussed the fact there is no justification for the state to take someone’s life (Death Penalty). This essay resulted in abolishing the death penalty in Austria and Tuscany. After a few failed attempts the United States made progress in eliminating the death penalty. In 1794 Pennsylvania was able to repeal the death penalty and have the executions for only first degree murders. Early in the 1800’s states started building penitentiaries to reduce the amount of capital crimes. Michigan in 1846 had eliminated the…