Capital punishment is a method of retributive punishment as old as civilization itself. Anti-death penalty supporters argue the death penalty is unconstitutional. Capital punishment is a barbaric remnant of an uncivilized society. It is immoral in principle, and unfair, and discriminatory in practice. It assures the execution of some innocent people. As a remedy for crime, it has no purpose and no effect. The arguments against capital punishment are many and cogent.
Capital punishment is irrevocable, and the errors of justice cannot be rectified. All possibility of reconsideration is taken away. Innocent persons have been hanged, and judge, jury, and the legal machinery involved have thereby been made a privy to the very crime they sought to punish. The only way to destroy a criminal is by reforming the man who is a criminal. To destroy a criminal is by reforming the man who is a criminal. To destroy his bodily life is nothing but a stupid blunder.
The strongest argument against using capital punishment for retributive purposes, is the argument that capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, condemning cruel and unusual punishment, is used to protest capital punishment. Officials often defend this punishment as not being cruel and unusual, but how can they defend this opinion in the case of John Evans, who was executed by electrocution in 1983? According to witnesses at the scene, Mr. Evans was given three charges of electrocution over a period of fourteen minutes. After the first and second charges, Mr. Evans was still conscious and smoke was coming from all over his body as a result of flesh burning. An official there even tried to stop the
execution on account of it being cruel and unusual punishment, but was unsuccessful. Witnesses later called the whole incident a “barbaric ritual.” Studies show that in this century at least four-hundred innocent people have been convicted of capital crimes that they did not commit, and of those four-hundred, twenty-three were executed. The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Maybe the punishment would not be as bad if there was absolute surety that the person the jury was putting on death row was guilty, but as most systems in the United States and else where, the capital punishment system has its serious faults.
Capital punishment goes against almost every religion. Although isolated passages of the Bible have been quoted in support of the death penalty, almost all religious groups in the United States regard executions as immoral. Capital punishment is also an ineffective punishment for those who commit crimes seeing the death penalty as the “easy way out.” Killing whether carried out by an individual or the state, is immoral and ought not to be condemned. The death...