An Overview of Capital Punishment Essay

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“The question with which we must deal is not whether a substantial

proportion of American citizens would today, if polled, opine that capital punishment is

barbarously cruel, but whether they would find it to be so in light of all information

presently available.”- Justice Thurgood Marshall

Imagine a man who commits murder once, is given a fifteen-year jail sentence

and is returned to the streets where he kills again. He is imprisoned again only to be

released. This could happen since almost one in ten death row inmates has been

convicted of murder at least once. That means that some death row inmates have been

given more than one chance to rehabilitate in prison and continue to commit violent

crimes. Should the United States justice system continue to let violent criminals back on

the streets where they are likely to commit murder again? Capital punishment is one of

the oldest forms of punishment in the world. Most societies have considered it a fair

punishment for severe crimes. It is even mentioned as an appropriate punishment in

the Bible. American colonists used capital punishment before the United States was a

country, and most states use it today. Currently, however, there is a great deal of

controversy surrounding the death penalty. Capital cases are long and expensive, and

there is no proof as to whether capital punishment deters crime. For these reasons total

abolition may be the best way to resolve the capital punishment controversy. If the laws

concerning capital punishment were modified, however, capital punishment could

become much cheaper, and possibly a lot more effective. – Steve Brinker Capital

Punishment: Give It A Chance

Since the beginning of man, people have been put to death. Capital

punishment has been used all over the world as a means of punishing people for their

crimes. Here in America, people are usually given a trial for their crime, judged upon by

the jury and judge, and then finally decided upon their final verdict. If the crime is

serious enough, the person is sent to spend time on death row in a maximum-security

prison. The judge then sets a date when the person is to be executed. The person has an

opportunity to appeal, which must be granted by the governor in the state in which the

person is imprisoned. If the pers...

... middle of paper ... punishment has been an instrument of government authority since it was

first written into Hammurabi’s Code nearly four thousand years ago, if not before. In

today’s modern, more “enlightened” times, many find the practice barbaric, and object on

principle. Others believe the practice is sometimes justified, but object on grounds of

iniquities in its application. Still others believe capital punishment lacks “teeth”, and

would be a more effective deterrent to crime if used less sparingly, and with less of the

Byzantine judicial process currently required. Recent reforms here in Florida reflect the

latter view. In an effort to reduce the time actually spent on Death Row by the

condemned, the State of Florida is altering its law to require that all appeals be complete

within five years of sentencing in the absence of new evidence, and must be submitted

simultaneously, not sequentially. At the same time, other states, such as Illinois, have

imposed a moratorium on executions. It is an issue few are in total agreement about.

Most Americans, however, agree that in the most heinous, horrific cases, the condemned

has earned his fate.

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