Capital Punishment: Fair Or Unfair? Essay

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The most severe form of punishment of all legal sentences is that of death. This is referred to as the death penalty, or “capital punishment”; this is the most severe form of corporal punishment, requiring law enforcement officers to actually kill the offender. It has been banned in numerous countries, in the United States, however an earlier move to eliminate capital punishment has now been reversed and more and more states are resorting to capital punishment for such serious offenses namely murder. “Lex talionis”, mentioned by the Bible encourages “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” mentality, and people have been using it regularly for centuries. We use it in reference to burglary, adultery, and various other situations, although,…show more content…
(Horwitz, 124-127)

Four major issues in capital punishment are debated, most aspects of which were touched upon by Seton Hall’s panel discussion on the death penalty. The first issue stands as deterrence. A major purpose of criminal punishment is to conclude future criminal conduct. The deterrence theory suggests that a rational person will avoid criminal behavior if the severity of the punishment outweighs the benefits of the illegal conduct. It is believed that fear of death “deters” people from committing a crime. Most criminals would think twice before committing murder if they knew their own lives were at stake. When attached to certain crimes, the penalty of death exerts a positive moral influence, placing a stigma on certain crimes like manslaughter, which results in attitudes of horror to such acts.

Studies of the deterrent effect of the death penalty have been conducted for several years, with varying results. Most studies have failed to produce evidence that the death penalty deterred murders more effectively then the threat of imprisonment. The reason for this is that few people are executed and so the death penalty is not a satisfactory deterrent. If capital punishment were carried out
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