The death penalty is an inhumane practice and should be eliminated throughout the world. It violates
the fundamental right to life. The saying by Mahatma Gandhi, "An eye for an eye makes the whole
world blind" is relevant. I will present reasons why the death penalty or more formally 'capital
punishment' brings society down to the level of the criminal and should be outlawed in the minority of
countries where it is still practised. It has not been carried out in Australia for several decades and I will
show why it should be further stopped. The death penalty is irreversible, it is not a successful
deterrent of crime, and it only perpetuates the cycle of violence and loss. It does not undo the wrong
that's been done, it just creates more wrongdoing and suffering and so should be abolished.
What exactly is capital punishment or the death penalty? It is generally defined as punishment by death
for committing a certain very serious crime. These crimes include murder, kidnapping, rape and treason
against the state. Methods of capital punishment include hanging, shooting by firing squad,
electrocution, lethal injection and even beheading and stoning, depending on the country administering
it. About 90 nations still permit it, including countries in the Middle East and some in Africa, such as
Ethiopia. It also exists in the USA, the only western country still applying the death penalty, in 31 of its
The first reason I believe it should be abolished is that it is irreversible. You can't take it back. If further
evidence proves that the convicted person was actually innocent, it is too late. Absolute judgements
may lead to people paying for crimes they did not really commit. For example, in 2004, in Texas USA,
a man called Cameron Willingham was executed for the alleged crime of setting fire to his three
daughters. A horrific charge indeed. However later evidence, after his execution, proved that in fact he
did not do it and someone else was responsible. Too late, so now the law becomes a criminal too, it
has murdered an innocent person. Both sides are now blind, as Gandhi would say. It is also worth
looking at the American statistic that since 1973, 140 people have been released from death row whilst
awaiting execution, due to evidence showing they were wrongfully convicted and were in fact innocent.
Imagine if time had run out before this and their death sentences were carried out.
My third main argument against the death penalty is that there is no humane way to kill another human
being and the cycle of violence and suffering just continues. Methods of execution involved can be
flawed. For example, the execution of a convicted criminal in the USA in 2006, by lethal injection, took
35 minutes, after the first dose didn't work and another dose was required. Other brutal methods such
as hanging, shooting and beheading just perpetuates the cycle of violence. The killing of the criminal
does not actually take away or alleviate the pain...