Death Penalty Essay

1362 words - 5 pages

Jaime L. Thomason PHIL 140/Professor Skees Final Paper 16 December 2012Death PenaltySince the beginning of crime in America, the correctional policy has always geared itself toward a "get tough" mentality regarding crime and punishment. Over the last several decades, all sides of the political realm have been supporting and suggesting measures to increase the safety in America and decrease the amount of crime on our streets. The most punitive type of punishment in the United States is perhaps arguably the death penalty. Unlike other types of punishments such as life in prison, the death penalty is the only punishment with a staunch opposition that continues to fight against its use. That being said, strong public support is the number one reason the death penalty continues to be used as a form of correction policy in our criminal justice system. If our country took a "no tolerance" stance toward capital crimes, we would send criminals a message of deterrence and the government would show our country that human life has more value to them then they currently portray.Capital punishment, also called death penalty, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense. Capital punishment should be distinguished from extrajudicial executions carried out without due process of law. The term death penalty is sometimes used interchangeably with capital punishment, although imposition of the penalty is not always followed by execution (even when it is upheld on appeal) because of the possibility of commutation to life imprisonment (Capital Punishment). Many death penalty supporters view the punishment with an "eye for an eye" mentality. Many feel it is an opportunity for the victim's loved ones to not only get the justice they deserve but also achieve some sort of closure. Without a stronger stance on the death penalty, there is always the possibility for convicted criminals to commit new crimes should they have the opportunity to leave prison.While it is rare, there have been cases in the past that a convicted murderer who has been sentenced to life in prison was able to receive parole mainly due to overcrowding in the prison system. These convicts rarely achieve the desired "rehabilitation" and frequently commit new crimes, particularly murder. One such case occurred in Charleston, South Carolina in 1985. Joe Atkins, who had been out of prison for 5 years after only serving 10 years of a life sentence he received after murdering his half-brother, Charles, murdered both his adoptive father and a 13-year-old girl who was a neighbor. Atkins had been exposed to violence his entire life, being subjected to frequent beatings and verbal rants by his adoptive father who would insult him with racist epithets because of his dark skin (Amnesty International). Joe was subjected to beatings from Charles and witnessed various types of abuse rendered towards his adoptive mother by his adoptive father. It is...

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