Capital Punishment has been around for as long as there has been written language. It has been used all over the world, in different cultures, and has been executed in different styles. In the past, the death penalty was taken for granted for almost any crime you can think of (Garland). However in today’s society, the question has been asked if Capital Punishment is a humane way to deal with criminals.
For most of recorded human history, there has always been records of the death penalty. Most of which were usually extremely painful or just outright disturbing. One of the most disturbing periods in history where the death penalty was widely enforced would be in late 18th century, in France. This time period is also known as the “Reign of Terror.”(Brown) During this time period, the citizens of France would not have trials for the crimes they were accused of. In many cases, this would mean that if you were accused of a crime you were going to be executed. In France, the death penalty of choice would be through the Guillotine. This method was cruel and unusual. It would put the person who was sentenced to death in the center of town so that everyone can see. The only thing that made the Guillotine a somewhat respected form of execution was “that this was the swiftest and least painful mode of death.”(Smith 33), at least for that time period.
In today’s society, many argue that the death penalty is inhumane. They call it a form of torture because the convicted wait so long on death row for their execution date. However, according to the United Nations Convention, it is not a form of torture. The United Nations Convention defines torture as “Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”(World Medical Journal) In the United States, there are four different ways that the death penalty can be carried out. There is lethal injection, death by firing squad, electrocution, and lethal gas. Of those mentioned, lethal injection is the one that is carried by all states that still carry out the death penalty.
The United States of America is one of the last countries in the world that continues to use the death penalty. A study conducted by Amnesty International has determined that the death penalty does not deter criminal actions any more than a different punishment. In fact, the murder rate actually declined in...