Is it a wise move to abolish capital punishement
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Is it a wise move to abolish capital punishement?
The question of capital punishment and its abolition is a highly debatable one. Capital punishment means death sentences. That is to say, a person found guilty of murder or some such outrageous crime is punished with death. The debate arises because of the fact that every human being has a right to live and that no one has the authority to deprive another of his life. Moral, legal sociological and even metaphysical argument are adduced in support of the abolition of capital punishment by experts. At the same time there are those who argue that a person having committed murder has lost the right to live and that if he is allowed to live he will be a threat to the safety and peace of the community. Certainly, the abolition of capital punishment is a humane measure, but the question is whether it is a wise move which will benefit the community and the society as a whole.
In ancient time, capital punishment was imposed according to the Mosaic Law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Socrates, the great philosopher, was condemned to death, and he perhaps died rather painlessly by drinking hemlock. The Romans considered arson, perjury, and murder as capital crimes and hurled the victims from a height to their death. In ancient China, the death sentence was implemented by the thousand cuts. Boiling, burning, impaling, garroting, decapitation, crucifying, hanging, poisoning, putting insects on human body, stoning and strangling were some of the forms of capital punishment. There was also the practice of criminals being thrown to crocodiles, bears, tigers and lions. A bizarre way of killing was tying the victim to the foot of the elephant to be dragged along and allowing him to be crushed beneath its enormous feet. The bullet and the noose have been used extensively and are the most traditional. In the United States, there is the notorious electric chair; now there is execution by lethal injection and the gas chamber as well.
Punishment for crimes are divided into three types: retributive, deterrent, and reformative. Death sentence was awarded in the past as part of a scheme of retributive justice. The criminal was then regarded as a person who willfully chose to commit a crime and thus outraged his social group by willfully opting out of it; it was therefore believed that he should forfeit his life. The criminal was thought of as a misfit in society. Deterrent punishments aim at preventing a person from committing crime by imprisoning him or putting restriction on his movements. Death sentence awarded to a criminal is also a kind of deterrent punishment in that the fear of such a punishment will act as a deterrent on other citizen as well.
There is now a school of thought that believes that individual is not to blame entirely for the crime he commits and that the society which has not provided him with the right type of environment and education to grow up but also share the same blame. This thought has given rise to the concept of reformative punishment. That is to say, it is the duty of the state to see that instead of 'eliminating' him from society, the criminal is reformed and turned into a good citizen. A large number of people who accept this line of thinking actively oppose death sentence; they believe that death sentence is not only retributive, but militates against human freedom and dignity too.
Opinion is sharply divided over the question of the abolition of capital punishment. Those who demand abolition of death penalty argue that the punishment is retributive and not reformative. Some people think that homicide is heinous, so is hanging; they call hanging or capital punishment 'judicial murder'. According to them the vindictive impulses of society should not be accorded legal sanction. Also, there are inherent dangers in awarding death penalty. The hangman's noose ends the search for truth - what if the judge is wrong? Judgments of courts can always be recalled and reviewed but executions of sentences of death never can be.
There are many other factors that make death sentence seem unjustifiable. A criminal condemned to death could have committed the crime under extenuating circumstances such as
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Penology, Crime, Misconduct, Criminal justice, Capital punishment, Law, Social policy, Hanging, Retributive justice, Capital punishment debate in the United States, Capital punishment in the United Kingdom
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