The Death Penalty: A Research Report

2777 Words Jan 7th, 2018 11 Pages
In 1622 the next known execution, also in the Colony of Virginia, was of Daniel Frank for the crime of theft. Since then the death penalty has almost always been a part of the criminal justice system (Reggie, 1997).
Proponents of capital punishment argue five purposes for its use: to remove from society someone who would cause more harm, someone who is incapable of rehabilitation, to deter others from committing murder, to punish the criminal, and to take retribution on behalf of the victim. Opponents of capital punishment argue that death constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment", which is prohibited by the eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, they contend that the various means used by the state to kill a criminal are cruel. Another concern stems from the fact that the death penalty is invoked disproportionally against the poor, who cannot afford expensive legal counsel, as well as against racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Opponents also argue that the death penalty is applied arbitrarily and inconsistently, and wrongly convicted, innocent people have received death sentences and been executed. Additionally, they contend a rehabilitated criminal can make a morally valuable contribution to society. Finally, many believe…

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