Bringing Back Capital Punishment
For my English assignment I have been asked to consider the question
whether or not capital punishment should be brought back. I am going
to be concentrating on America because it is the closest to our style
Capital punishment refers to the taking of life of someone who has
been found guilty of committing a crime.
Some of the earlier methods were crucifixion, boiling in oil, drawing
and quartering, impalement, beheading, burning alive, crushing,
tearing asunder, stoning and drowning.
In the United States, the death penalty is currently authorized in one
of five ways: hanging, electrocution (introduced by New York State in
1890), the gas chamber (adopted in Nevada in 1923), firing squad which
is used only in Utah, or lethal injection (introduced in 1977 by
Oklahoma). In most nations that still retain the death penalty for
some crimes, hanging or the firing squad are the preferred methods of
execution. In some countries that adhere strictly to the traditional
practices of Islam, beheading or stoning is still occasionally
employed as punishment.
Capital punishment is still used in some states of America, South
Africa, China and Russia. The most common crimes committed are treason
William Kemmler was the first man to be executed in the electric
chair, at Auburn Prison in New York on August 7, 1890. Kemmler was
convicted of murdering his girlfriend Tillie Ziegler with an axe in
The electric chair is used primarily in the United States to execute
prisoners who have been sentenced to death. The picture shows a chair
from New York State, where electrocution was introduced as a method of
capital punishment in 1890. Capital punishment was abolished in the
United Kingdom in 1965, although it remains an option within the
judicial process of many countries around the world.
Below is a graph of the number of people executed between 1930 and
Capital punishment is meant to reduce crime, but by looking at this
graph you can see that this is not the case.
During and after World War II (1939-1945), the number of executions in
the United States began to decline. In 1972 the US Supreme Court ruled
the death penalty unconstitutional and halted all executions.
Executions resumed in 1977 and have been increasing since that time.
In 2003, 65 inmates were executed, 6 fewer than in 2002.
In 2002, 71 persons in 13 States were executed -- 33 in Texas; 7 in
Oklahoma, 6 in Missouri; 4 each in Georgia and Virginia, 3 each in
Florida, South Carolina, and Ohio; 2 each in Alabama, Mississippi, and
North Carolina; and 1 each in Louisiana and California.
Of persons executed in 2002:
-- 53 were white
-- 18 were black
Of those executed in 2002: