Capital Punishment Essay

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Capital Punishment Capital Punishment is regarded by most as a successful deterrent to murder, but that is because these people don’t look at it as it is applied. According to retributivists such as Kant and Van Den Haag the guilty deserves to be punished. On the other hand, people against the death penalty like Bedau think that the death penalty is just as much an effective deterrent as life in prison. The most famous retributivist Kant, states that the guilty ought to get punished because they chose to act wrongly, and by punishing them, we are respecting them as a moral agents. This occurs because humans are given the ability to reason and act morally and thus if we don’t punish them we are not treating them as moral agents. …show more content…
Another retributivist, van den Haag, is also a major supporter of the death penalty. He is not concerned about sentencing innocent people to death because according to him there will always be innocent victims, but that number or percentage must be kept to a minimum. Over the past 85 years, there have been 25 who have proven to be innocent after death, but according to van den Haag this is a reasonable number because there will always be mistakes(van den Haag, pg252) . People against the death penalty say not only the guilty are being executed, and innocent lives are being taken, thus we should have a stricter death row sentence to see if it is possible the accuser will be innocent. Also, it would be too difficult to make a law that ensures that only those committing the worst crimes are sentenced to die, for example if an abused wife decided one day to get back at her husband and take his life. According to retributivists she doesn’t deserve to die even though she is guilty. Also, with the death penalty race, age and gender come into play. For example, there isn’t much media coverage on men on death row, but if there was a women on death row you wouldn’t miss a thing about it. Another example is the case of Ferman vs Georgia in 1972. This case showed that capital punishment is unconstitutional, but the court didn’t say it was cruel and unusual punishment. Consequently, with the fact that the majority of people on death row are usually poor,

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