The Controversial Issue of Capital Punishment

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The Controversial Issue of Capital Punishment

Since the execution of James Kendall in 1608, capital punishment “has been an accepted form of justice” in what is now the United States (Smith 2). Capital punishment can be defined as “the penalty of death for the commission of a crime” ( 1). In colonial America, both violent and non-violent crimes could merit the death penalty.

Murder was not the only crime punishable by death. Criminals responsible for committing any crime against God would be executed. While our society does not execute individuals supposedly practicing witchcraft or committing other sins, there is still a need for capital punishment. Not only should the death penalty be condoned, but improved upon to give criminals punishments comparable to the brutal crime responsible for their prosecution. The methods of executing criminals have evolved greatly since colonial times. Our government now uses the method of lethal injection, which causes the criminal to lose consciousness before he is injected with a poisonous substance. Preceding lethal injection was the gas chamber, the electric chair, the firing squad, and the hanging.

The death penalty has been improved upon not only to execute the criminal faster, but to be as humane as possible.

As with all controversial issues, capital punishment is no stranger to opposition.

Activist groups have gathered and published information pertaining to the inability of capital punishment to deter crime and of the United States justice system’s tendency to be prejudice in executions. The Moratorium Campaign, an anti-capital punishment group, posts information on their website regarding the flaws of capital punishment. Anti-capital punishment topics such as...

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...e. It is with these imperfections that our legal system is constantly being improved upon in order to avoid convicting innocent people. While the validity of anti-capital punishment arguments is evident, the validity of pro-capital punishment arguments is also evident. Criminals who have murdered other human beings have, in their actions, forfeited their rights as Americans as well as their right to live their lives. The punishment for taking a human life should be the loss of life for the perpetrator.


Smith, Sharon. “Capital Punishment in the United States”. Close Up Foundation. 1999. 14 Nov. 2002

“Capital Punishment”. 2000. 14 Nov. 2002

“General Statistics about the Death Penalty in the United States”. The Morotorium Campaign. 2001. 14 Nov. 2002

Anderson, Kerby. “Capital Punishment”. Probe Ministries. 1992. 14 Nov. 2002

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