Capital Punishment, Proven To Be An Effective Deterrent Of Major Crime

964 words - 4 pages

Throughout history, statistics have proven that CapitalPunishment or otherwise known as the death penalty, has beenan effective deterrent of major crime. Capital Punishment is thelawful infliction of death among criminals and has been used topunish a wide variety of offenses for many years all over theworld (Bedau 16). When the death penalty is enforced, it showssociety that committing a capital crime has deadly consequences.In early times, many methods of Capital Punishment wereused to deter a variety of crimes. For over a century, the uniformmethod for executing persons in America was hanging, althoughstarvation was very common also. There were exceptions whichincluded spies, traitors, and deserters who would face a firingsquad. Then in 1888, New York directed the construction of an'electric chair' (Flanders 11). It was believed that the newharnessed power of electricity would prove to be a more scientificand humane means of execution. The first electrocution took place2in New York in 1890.In the past, capital crimes were much different than they arenow. Robbery and the selling of alcohol to underage customerswas a serious capital crime (McCuen and Baumgart 21). Rape wasalso a crime where the criminal was sentenced to death.In America, only thirty-seven states authorize the deathpenalty. In most of those thirty-seven states, murder is the onlycapital crime. The Supreme Court requires that two conditionsmust be met in order for a specific murder to warrant the deathpenalty (Nardo 32). The first condition is that it must be firstdegree murder, which is the deliberate and premeditated taking oflife. The second is that one or more aggravating circumstancesmust be present. Aggravating Circumstances refer to those aspectsof a crime that increase its severity. An example of an aggravatingcircumstance would be torture in conjunction with a murder.('Capital Punishment' 32).3Every society has faced the problem of what to do with itsmost troublesome criminals. Many people in the past have arguedwhether or not Capital Punishment is justified and necessary.Most societies now believe that a criminal should receivepunishment proportional to the crime committed. Most societiesbelieve that such a severe punishment was necessary to install fearin others.While more social structures developed, the crimesdeveloped into public and private offenses. Public offenses suchas witchcraft and blasphemy, were punished by the state; whileprivate offenses still were answered by acts of personalretribution.The enforcement of Capital Punishment in the earlytwentieth century declined drastically because of all of thecontroversy. Today, many more states are taking the death penaltyinto consideration.4Methods of Capital Punishment used today are somewhatdifferent than what was used in the past. The lethal injectionmethod, which is by far the most common, and the 'electric chair'are the most recently used. The gas chamber is still used but invery rare cases.In 1924, the gas...

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