Role of Capital Punishment in Modern Criminal Punishment
Capital punishment has continued to be used as the major punishment for convicted felons for a long time now. However, it has been a subject of controversy in recent years and has been seen as an inhuman mode of punishment in the modern era. This is because of the various legal challenges it faces and the methods used in executing the punishment, which include the use of a firing squad, lethal injections and the electric chair among others. However, those supporting capital punishment argue that revenge is the only way justice can be achieved while those against it see it all wrong for the state to take any citizen’s life (Neubauer and Fradella 391).
Capital punishment hardly plays any role in reforming or rather reducing murders and other violent cases in the modern world. In fact, most countries in the world have gone ahead and abolished death sentences. This decision to abolish capital punishment may have come due to the issues surrounding this system of criminal punishment, with the morality of the punishment and the methods used to execute it being the main problem. This has led to the query whether capital punishment has any purpose in today’s society.
The cost of executing prisoners in prisons has been used as one of the reasons that advocate for the end to capital punishment. For example, data from Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) in the United States shows that it is less costly to confine convicts for life than to execute them. The bulk of the costs are accrued during the trial level. Thus, many argue in support of the life imprisonment as it costs the tax payers less than the life sentences they get. The issue of cost has even led to abolishment of death penalty, an example being the New Jersey State. However, those against the sentence argue that condemning offenders to execution just because the process is less costly is wrong as sometimes innocent people may be wrongly convicted (Marzilli 52).
The death penalty has also been found wanting in that, many have argued that the attorneys who try the death penalty suspects lack the proficiency to deal with such high profile cases. This has been a cause for concern over the years and some researchers worry that people who are not financially well off will usually get under qualified attorneys as compared to wealthy people. Poor people thus end up getting unsatisfactory legal representation as is required by the constitution and may be prone to such sentences (Marzilli 92).
Another legal concern has been whether a mentally ill person can be sentenced to capital punishment. According to the constitution, it is against the law to execute a mentally retarded lawbreaker as he cannot comprehend the reason and the meaning of why he is being executed. An example of such as scenario was the case of Panetti V. Quarterman of 2007 where the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the defendant had a mental illness and could therefore not...