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Capital Punishment, Should It Be Used As A Way Of Disciplining Criminals?

1421 words - 6 pages

There is one question that has always brought about controversy.Should capital punishment be used as a way of disciplining criminals? Overthe past twenty years, there has been an enormous increase in violent crimes.It seems logical that a person is less likely to commit a given act if by doing sohe will suffer swift and certain punishment of a horrible kind. As mostAmericans agree, death is the only appropriate punishment for such crimes.In ancient times' executions were not uncommon. Even the Bible teachescapital punishment. It states, "Who so sheddeth man's blood, by man shall hisblood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Bible). In ancient timesa set of laws were written which ...view middle of the document...

Other crimes worthy ofdeath include espionage by a member of the Armed Forces (communication ofinformation to a foreign government), tampering where death results by awitness, and death resulting from aircraft hijacking. While hangings andfiring squads remained in use, many forms of execution were done away with.Methods such as electrocution, lethal gas, and lethal injection soon replaced theannulled ones. As with almost everything, there were exceptions made. Somestates the prohibited the execution of anyone mentally retarded.In 1901, Colorado made it a law that capital punishment would not be used ifthe accused was convicted only on circumstantial evidence.The American public has long been favorably disposed toward capitalpunishment for convicted murderers, and that support continues to grow. In a1981 Gallup Poll, two-thirds of Americans voiced general approval of thedeath penalty. That support rose to 72 percent in 1985, to 76 percent in 1991,and to 80 percent in 1994 (Moore, 1994:5). Although these poll results need tobe interpreted with extreme caution, it is clear that there are few issues onwhich more Americans agree: in at least some circumstances, death is seen asa justifiable punishment for the worst sorts of criminal homicides.On the other hand, much of the public and political supportfor capital punishment rests on its presumed value as a general deterrent: weneed the death penalty to encourage potential murderers to avoid engaging incriminal homicide. Unlike the issue of retribution, empirical studies cananswer questions about the death penalty's general deterrent effects.To supporters of capital punishment, the statistics are pleasing. In thepast seventy years there have been 4,002 executions carried out in the UnitedStates. Approximately three-fifths of the executions were in the South. A tenyear interim began in 1967. The states as well as many advocates waitedanxiously as the Supreme Court resolved the issue of the constitution versuscapital punishment. There have been 143 executions since its end in Utah.Statistics show that criminals convicted of murder make up 87% of the thoseexecuted.After the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building, a poll was taken whichasked the question, "Do you think the persons responsible for the bombingshould receive the death penalty if caught?" The CNN USA Today Pollreported that 86% of the people replied YES (CNN USA Today Poll, 1994).These findings have stayed...

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