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Social, Moral And Historical Aspects Of Capital Punishment

1392 words - 6 pages

Capital punishment is always a delicate topic. Even though it has been introduced thousand years ago, it’s still a question that raises many issues: what is its impact on our society? Is it moral or not? Is it useful or not? Where does this practice come from? In this essay I will try to answer to these question.
To begin with, it will be useful to analyze what role the capital punishment plays, or it’s supposed to play, in our society. The first purpose is to restore or maintain the security of the life, by stopping the killer to commit another murder and to avoid others becoming killers too. But, if the first task is easily and immediately achievable, the same cannot be said for the second one. In fact, if we have a quick look to the statistics of the last few years, we will discover that the murder rate in the countries that have death penalty is higher than that one in the countries that do not have death penalty. So, it seems that the fear to be executed doesn’t prevent people from committing crimes. On the contrary, this procedure could actually increase the number of crimes. In fact, with the capital punishment, whose execution is public and under the eyes of everyone, the state seems to allow, or even worst promote, forms of physical violence really high, and this could let individuals who are naturally violent to feel that life doesn’t have a lot of value. A fast and concrete example: “in West Virginia, a non death penalty state, the annual murder rate is four per 100,000 citizens, while in Virginia, which has one of the highest execution rates in the nation, the annual murder rate is six per 100,000 citizens” (William W. Wilkins, 2007).
Another aspect of the capital punishment that touches the society is the cost. At the first sight it could seem that the cost of a normal trial is lower than the cost of a death penalty trial, but actually is not like that. As a matter of fact, a trial for death penalty involves much more professional figures and experts than a normal one. In fact, it’s highly probable that the defense would ask, for example, for the assistance of other lawyers to help studying the strategy of defense, or a fingerprint expert or a psychologist for the defendant, and so on. Moreover, the cost doesn’t end when the trial is over, because, as every defendant, also capital defendant has the right to have his case reviewed in appeal. So, all together, the cost of that kind of trial is very high, so high that Jeffrey A. Fagan, a professor of Law and Public Health, found out that “the price of obtaining convictions and executions ranges from $2.5 million to $5 million per case (in current dollars), compared to less than $1 million for each killer sentenced to life without parole” (Jeffrey A. Fagan, 2014). The question, then, is if it wouldn’t be better use this money to make stronger the resources of the police, instead of using it for a procedure that doesn’t ensure the decrease of the crimes.
Another aspect that should be...

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