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Debate The Death Penalty Death penalty is the act of killing a person via a judicial proceeding for retribution of a heinous crime committed, such as aggravated murder, felony killing or contract killing. Death penalty differs from one country to another, one legislation to another. In February, 2010, the top court in China called for death penalty to be confined only to 'extremely serious crimes'. Death penalty in China was called for even non-violent crimes like corruption and drunken-driving cases, etc. As of 2008, China recorded the largest number of executions recorded with more than half of the total 2,400 executions recorded around the world. Death penalty pros and cons is a topic that has been chewed on for ages. While some say death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, which in the name of justice is actually only premeditated and cold-blooded killing of humans. Then others say, that certain people earn this ultimate punishment by committing horrendous crimes. According to them, society has the right to act in self defense to protect the rights of those killed. Capital punishment in the United States differs from one state to another. Of the 50 states in the US, the 15 states with no death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, W. Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and the district of Columbia. The methods of executions have also varied over time, from lethal injections, lethal gas, electrocutions to firing squads. In 2009, there were 52 executions, of which 51 were by lethal injections and one by electric chair in Virginia. Texas was the state to have the largest number of executions; 24. Death Penalty Pros and Cons List Death Penalty Cons Of the 192 countries of the world, more than two-thirds have abolished death penalty. In 2009, two countries Togo and Burundi abolished the death penalty, bringing the total number to 139. Amnesty International USA, an organization of more than 2.2 million supporters from across the globe, works with a mission to protect people denied of justice, freedom, truth and dignity. Partnering with another organization, Witness to innocence, Amnesty International has come up with the Death Penalty Awareness Week (February 26-March 7), which is an awareness program unveiling the realities of the fatally flawed capital punishment system. Several others also oppose death penalty as a punishment. "Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime, as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty." - Henry Ford The reasons why people across the globe are working towards the abolition of death penalty are as follows: Wrongful Convictions Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death rows throughout the US, due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. We do not know how many people are charged for crimes and murders they have never committed. However, the legal system has found some cases wherein, they have wrongly accused the innocent. Factors such as inadequate legal representations, police and prosecutor misconduct, racial prejudice, jail house "snitch" testimony, political pressure to solve a case, misinterpretation of evidence, etc. can work against an innocent person and conduce to harsh death penalty. Costs Most of us fail to realize that executing a death sentence is 2.5 times more expensive than keeping the same criminal in prison for life. This is because, the cost incurred prior to and during the trial, involves an endless stream of appeals, legal wrangling, etc. For such trials, special motions and extra time for jury selection are required. Investigation charges also rise exorbitantly, especially by the prosecution. Thus, spending finances on death penalty is tantamount to reducing essential financial and time resources needed for crime prevention, mental health treatment, rehabilitation, valuable victim's services, etc. Deterrence The other school of thought says that death penalty will help reduce the number of homicides. On the contrary, statistics have revealed that countries with death penalty as punishment have higher homicide rates as compared to countries that have abolished capital punishment. This shows that the threat of execution in the future is unlikely to deter people from executing the horrendous crime under the influence of alcohol, drug, fear, rage or mental illness. Most murders are done in the heat of passion, wherein a person fails to think rationally, so it's baseless to think the fear of death penalty will reduce homicides. Rehabilitation Failure Putting somebody on death row does not accomplish anything. Death penalty closes all doors for the criminal to acknowledge his mistakes. Family members of the convicted may want to see the murderer punished, but death penalty will not ease the pain caused by the loss of the loved one. Retribution will not pacify the pain or fill the vacuum caused by the loss. This does not mean we are not to punish the guilty. A life imprisonment is a terrible punishment, amplifying the agony of the convicted over the decades spent in prison. Moreover, if we take away the murderer's life, how are we different? Isn't giving a second chance more humane? Although lethal injects and electric chairs are not as barbaric as medieval torture devices, it still is taking somebody's life. Death Penalty Pros Precedent Server It is believed that keeping harsh punishments like death penalty conduce to fear in the would-be murderer's mind pertaining to their future on being caught. If people know they will only face life-imprisonment, they will take the legal system casually and commit all the crimes they want. This increases the rate of homicides. By instilling death penalty in the legal system, people will not dare to murder that easily. Thus, death penalty is considered as an essential tool to fight premeditated murder. Just Punishment Since life is so precious; the punishment for taking somebody's life is paying the price with your own life. Thus, death penalty is nothing but just punishment for those who have taken another individual or individuals lives. Safety Concerns A murderer who has mercilessly killed people once, may escape from prison and end up killing others. Life imprisonment means chances of parole, which gives the criminal a chance to get back at those who testified against him. He can also take revenge from the victim's family. This leaves the victim's family living a life of fear all the time. Death penalty ensures the murderer can commit no more crimes in the future. Excess Sympathy The law seems too sympathetic towards the criminal than towards the victim and his or her family. The reason the convicted is charged for death penalty is because he or she has murdered somebody. Thus, there is no room for sympathy. The criminal is only facing the consequences of his or her actions. The United States is one of the minority countries that still uses death penalty as a form of punishment. According to statistics published by Amnesty International, 'public support for death penalty is diminishing in the US'. Over half of the American citizens prefer life imprisonment without parole instead of death penalty as the most severe form of punishment. Hope this article on death penalty pros and cons was informative! By Priya Johnson Published: 2/13/2010 http://www.buzzle.com/articles/death-penalty-pros-and-cons.html Debate The Death Penalty Facts Capital punishment or death penalty is a form of execution of criminals, adopted and practiced since many years. It has not yet been clearly justified, although, there have been a number of debates that argue, if capital punishment is fair. Many reasons have been cited in support and against its practice. Supporters of capital punishment have termed it as a crime deterrent, but those against it claim that it does not deter crime; it only lowers the moral levels of the government. The implementation of capital punishment in the US dates back to 1608, after which it has undergone many reforms over the past two centuries. The application of capital punishment is very rare, mostly for aggravated murder, and it has also been abolished in some of the US states and territories. Here are some facts about capital punishment. World Facts about Capital Punishment 90 countries of the world have abolished the practice of capital punishment for all crimes. 32 countries have death penalty as law, but no executions have been carried out. As of 2006, 90% of all executions were carried out in Asia and USA. The number of people executed in 25 countries were 1,591 and the number of defendants sentenced to capital punishment were 3,861. The methods used for executions, since 2000, are lethal injection, hanging, beheading, electrocution, stoning and shooting. Prohibition of execution and sentencing to death of offenders under the age of 18, has been established by international human rights treaties, like the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc. Facts about Capital Punishment in the US Around 13,000 people have been executed with capital punishment, since the colonial times. US ranks fourth in the number of executions every year. The US court banned the practice of capital punishment in 1972, but it was later reinstated in 1976. The total number of executions since then is 1,158. Capital punishment has been abolished in the District of Columbia and 12 states that include Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 38 US states, even the US military, allow death penalty. Since 1976, the largest number of executions were carried out in Texas. The methods used for execution are lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging and firing squad. The primary method of execution is the lethal injection. The total number of inmates on death row, as of January 1, 2009, is 3,297, of which 45% are white, 41.6% are black and 11% are Hispanic. If the race of the defendants executed since 1976 is considered, 57% white, 34% black and 7% Hispanic defendants have been executed. Capital punishment is exclusive to crimes involving murder; however, other crimes, like the rape of a child has also been punishable under capital punishment. There were 51 women on death row as of 31st, December 2007. 11 women have been executed, since 1976. Since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976, it was first repealed by New Jersey in 2007, followed by New Mexico in 2009. Around 65% of the US population are in support of capital punishment. Since 1973, 124 prisoners have been released after being proved innocent by evidence. Much has been said about the pros and cons of capital punishment. Its efficiency as a deterrent to crime is yet to be established and whether it is a justified solution to crime still remains a debatable issue. By Dhanya Joy http://www.buzzle.com/articles/facts-about-capital-punishment.html Debate The Death Penalty: Pros vs. Cons Capital punishment is the death penalty given by the government of a country, to people who have committed hideous crimes like homicide, rape, etc. Capital punishment has been a way of punishing people since ages. Although there are some countries that have abolished death penalty from their law, there are still many which still practice the act of killing a person for crime. Capital punishment is prevalent in the US, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Some of the ways of executing criminals are hanging, shooting, electrocution and giving lethal injections. People have different opinions on the issue of capital punishment given to a convict. While some think that death penalty is necessary for those who have committed a terrible crime, there are others who consider it as an immoral act that goes against the values of humanity. Pros of Capital Punishment A person who has committed a crime like killing or raping another person should be given death penalty, which is as severe punishment as the act. It is said that when a criminal is given a capital punishment, it dissuades others in the society from committing such serious crimes. They would refrain from such crimes due to fear of losing their lives. This would definitely help in reducing crime rate in society. If a criminal is jailed, he may again commit the same crime after being released from prison. Giving him capital punishment would make sure that the society is safe from being attacked by criminals. It seems to be an appropriate punishment for serial killers and for those who continue to commit crimes even after serving imprisonment. Some believe that instead of announcing life imprisonment for the convicts, where they would have to live a futile life behind closed bars, it is better to kill them. It is said that imprisoning someone is more expensive than executing him. Rather than spending on a person who may again commit terrifying crime, it is better to put him to death. Capital punishment is equated as revenge for pain and suffering that the criminal inflicted on the victim. Some people strongly believe that a person who has taken the life of another person does not have a right to live. Sentencing such a criminal can give relief to the family members of the victim that their loved one has obtained justice. It is also important for the safety of fellow prison inmates and guards, as people who commit horrifying crimes like murder are believed to have a violent personality and may, in future, attack someone during imprisonment. These reasons emphasize the importance of capital punishment for the betterment of human society. However, there is another section of people who believe that it is an immoral and unethical act of violence. Cons of Capital Punishment If we execute a person, what is the difference between us and the criminal who has committed the horrifying crime of killing another individual. Capital punishment is not always just and appropriate. Usually, it has been seen that poor people have to succumb to death penalty as they cannot afford good lawyers to defend their stance. There are very rare cases of rich people being pronounced capital punishment. Also, an individual from minority communities are more likely to be given death penalty. Every human being is entitled to receive a second chance in life. Putting a convict behind bars is always a logical option than killing him, as there is a chance that he may improve. People who have served life sentences are reported to have bettered their earlier ways of living and have made worthwhile contribution to the society. There is also a chance that an individual is innocent and is wrongly charged for a crime he has never committed. There have been cases where individuals were released after being given death sentence, because they were proved innocent. There are also cases where a person's innocence was proved after he was put to death. Hence, it is best to avoid executing a person. It is reported that there is no relation between capital punishment and crime rate i.e giving death penalty does not decrease crime rate in the society. Crimes are prevalent in countries where capital punishment exists and also where it has been abolished. The question whether capital punishment is a moral or an immoral act in a cultured society, does not have a definite answer. Whether to give capital punishment to a criminal or not, may depend on his previous criminal records and the seriousness of the crime he has committed. But, do we really have the right to take the life of our fellow human beings? By Deepa Kartha http://www.buzzle.com/articles/10-pros-and-cons-of-capital-punishment.html
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