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Capital Punishment, The Lawful Infliction Of The Death Penalty

874 words - 3 pages

Capital punishment is the lawful infliction of the death penalty, and since ancienttimes has been used as punishment for a wide variety of offenses ( Software ToolworksEncyclopedia: Capital Punishment ). The standard for this judgment is that thepunishment must be based on the severity of the offense. 'Murder, for example is widelyconsidered an offense meriting the death penalty- In which case is called a capitaloffense-or life imprisonment.' ( Software Toolworks Encyclopedia: Crime ). A centralprincipal of a just society is that each person is given the right to 'life, liberty, and thepursuit of happiness;' irreguardless of the crime that is committed society is not justifiedin denying the right to life through the institution of capital punishment.Throughout history, various forms of capital punishment have been put to use,'from stoning in biblical times, crucifixion under the Romans, beheading in France, tothose we use in the United Stated today' (Software Toolworks Encyclopedia: CapitalPunishment). As such, capital punishment is imposed in thirty-eight states, and twomore are considering its reinstatement; however, there is also a debate on how quicklythe sentence to death should be carried out. This debate has left almost three thousandinmates awaiting execution ( Carro 631 ). The present forms of capital punishment rangefrom lethal injection to electrocution ( Peacenets Prison Information Desk n.pag. ). Usedas a method of execution, electrocution makes the body a conductor for approximatelyfive amperes of current at two thousand volts. Auburn State Prison in New York was thefirst to use the electric chair in 1890, and it temporarily became the main form ofexecution. However, lethal injection has since surpassed electrocution in it's frequency.Lethal injection consists of the convicted criminal being injected with a deadly dose ofbarbiturates via an intravenous tube. 'The process resembles the method used for apatient undergoing anesthesia before surgery.' ( Software Toolworks Encyclopedia:Lethal Injection ). This method, now used in Texas as well as twenty six other states, isconsidered a more humane form of carrying out the death penalty ( Peacenets PrisonInformation Desk n. pag. ).'The debate over capital punishment can be traced as far back as biblical times.There is a contradiction in the Bible between the fifth commandment, 'Thou shall notkill,' and the idea of retribution of 'an eye for and eye' ( Carro n. pag. ). Retribution isessential for the good of our society. However; this does not validate the death penalty.'The entire basis on which our community is built is each citizen honoring the rightfulclaims of others' ( Cauthen n.pag. ). These rights include the 8th Amendment to theConstitution of the United States which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment(Software Toolworks Encyclopedia:...

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