Analysis of the Controversial Issue of Capital Punishment Essay

Analysis of the Controversial Issue of Capital Punishment Essay

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The Controversial Issue of Capital Punishment

    Capital punishment is a declining institution as the twentieth century nears its end. At one time capital punishment was a common worldwide practice, but now it is only used for serious violation of laws in 100 of the world's 180 nations (Haines 3 ). It can be traced back to the earliest forms of civilization. The origins of the movement away from capital punishment are difficult to date precisely. The abolition movement can be heard as early as the religious sermons of the Quakers in the 1640's (Masur 4). In the seventeenth century, the Anglo-American world began to rely less on public executions and more in favor of private punishments. The possible decline in popularity of the capital punsihment system is directly related to the many controversial issues it entails such as: the questions of deterrence, morals and ethics, constitutionality, and economics.

 

The usual justification for capital punsihment is that it deters crime. It is by no means obvious whether capital punishment deters crime more than life imprisonment. However, a legend says that in Victorian, England, at the site of public hangin gs of pickpocketers, other pickpocketers frequently practiced their trade among the crowd. Although the threat of execution was taking place right in front of their eyes, the deterrence in its strongest form was ineffective (Streib 3). On the other hand , in 1970 and 1971 the Los Angeles Police Department surveyed persons whom they arrested for a violent crime, but did not use their weapon, did not carry a weapon, or carried an inoperative weapon. Of the ninety-nine criminals who responded to the questi on about why they had not killed or put themselv...


... middle of paper ...


... remains such a ontroversial iss ue, it may one-day collapse just like the other "invincible" institutions.

 

Works Cited

Bowers, William. Legal Homocide. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1984.

Castberg, Didrick and Victor Rosenblum. Cases on Constitutional Law. Illinois: The Dorsey Press, 1973.

Death Sentencing. ACLE Pamphlet #15. Pennsylvania: Nelson Thomas Publishers, 1994.

Gibbons, Don. Society, Crime, and Criminal Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1987.

Goshgarian, Gary and Kathleen Krueger. Crossfire and Argument. New York: Addision Wesley Longman, 1997.

Haines, Herbert. Against Capital Punishment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Masur, Louis. Rites of Execution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Streib, Victor. A Capital Punishment Anthology. Cleveland: Anderson Publishing Co., 1993.

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