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A Brief History Of The Death Penalty In The Us And The Current Trends.

2577 words - 10 pages

Death PenaltyIntroductionThe death penalty had been debated for decades. Many advocates are for the death penalty, but many more, now more than ever, are taking the stance that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. The death penalty, like any other punishment for crimes committed, is meant to be a deterrent. Is it time to abolish the death penalty - or make it more efficient, less gruesome, and more certain? I am not able to answer this question with definite words and I will not even try to attempt, but I will provide some facts and my own opinions on the death penalty.In the United States, the authorized methods of execution vary by state but include lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, firing squad, and lethal gas. Although these ultimate and finite punishments exist, they have never been shown to deter crime effectively as or more effectively than other punishments. This shows that the death penalty is not working and its purpose is no longer valid and can very well be an inhuman and cruel punishment. In a 1993 poll, 44% of Americans preferred life without parole that included restitution rather than the death penalty. Less Americans, only 41% preferred the death penalty and 15% were not decided. Given alternatives to the death penalty, more Americans will choose the alternative.During the early eighteenth century many persons were responsible for reforming the way punishments for crimes committed were meted. Cesare Beccaria was one person who helped bring some dignity to people accused and punished for crimes. In 1767 Cesare Beccaria wrote an essay, On Crimes and Punishment. Cesare believed that there was no justification to take another human life as a punishment for a crime committed. He thought that the prevention of crimes was more important than the punishment of crimes and that punishment was not meant to provide a social revenge. If the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, then is it a revenge or victim vindication? The United States had made great progress in protecting and ensuring the human dignity of every citizen since the Age of Enlightenment but maybe we still need to progress further still. Pro-death penalty advocates will deny it is a form of revenge but that it is an assurance that the criminal will never commit the heinous crime convicted of again. There should be better and more effective ways of preventing a person from committing the same capitol crime twice.Of course, we will never know how many crimes have been averted because the death penalty exists, so nobody can claim that the death penalty never worked as intended. This is hardly measurable, though, unless you can get the person(s) that considered or may have committed a capitol crime to admit that the only reason they did not commit the crime was because of the fear or threat of being put to death if caught and convicted.HistoryThe first execution in what is now the United States was in the Colony of Virginia. A man named Daniel Frank...

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