Various arguments have been presented by people of different walks of live all over the country regarding the issue of death sentence. In relation to this case, the American population has been known to present its own arguments regarding the matter since the dawning days of the nation. Currently, it shall be noted that a high number of cases have made it possible between the opponents and proponents of capital punishment. The first form of well documented death penalty that was carried out can be traced back to the eighteenth century during the code by King Hammurabi where 25 crimes would easily lead to an ultimate sanction being presented by the state (Albanese, 2000).
There are a number of rationalizations that have been forwarded in favor of capital punishment. As stated by the state, death punishment is known to deter and prevent the occurrence of a number of crimes. In relation to studies that have been conducted by a number of criminologists, it is evident that there are other better means that can be used to get rid or a criminal from the society apart from death. Methods such as life without parole (LWOP) can effectively work. More than 200 hundred researches that have been conducted in relation to death sentence as a means of punishing criminals indicate that crime rates have note reduced as a result of the use of the death sentence.
Debate on Usage of Capital Punishment
The US is considered as the only nation within the western world that allows the usage of capital punishment. The sentence has spread receiving support politically. Seventy four percent of the people surveyed propose the use of capital punishment on people who have been convicted for serious crimes. Though many Americans feel that a crime should be punished, majority disagrees with the fact that this is done for vengeance and deterrence (Schaefer, 2004). Although many countries may regard this as being extreme, laws must exist and they are set for the sake of protecting others rights and freedoms.
According to the deterrence theory, it is asserted that the level of punishment accorded to an individual should equate the level of crime committed. Similarly, the threat f the punishment should be equal and severe enough to the pleasures or benefits that a criminal would receive from the crime committed. In addition to this, Bedau & Pierce (2007) argues that the punishment to be administered must be done swiftly in order for the criminals to feel and see the relationship that exists between the punishment and the crime committed.
When a punishment presented to an individual prevents the individual from committing the crime then it will have achieved its goal. This form of deterrence is called “general deterrence”. Similarly, specific deterrence can be employed to prevent crimes since it makes the criminals incapable of committing crimes. By employing the death sentence, it is indisputable that the criminals’ will be prevented from committing further crimes. This is because the criminal who has been convicted will never kill or commit a crime again. However, there is still much debate on this topic.
From statistics, it is clear that the murder rates in states that have enforced death sentences and those without the death sentences are very similar. In addition tot his, the rates of homicides in the states where the death sentence had been abolished did not increase, neither did they increase after the death sentence was reinstated. On the other hand, exercising capital punishment on youths who have been involved in major crimes may sound out of order. Youths are considered as the future of the nation and being young, it is important that the state employs mechanisms that can be able to rehabilitate them before taking such stern actions on them. Some youths may have committed some crimes out of pressure or peer influence and subjecting them to death may seem a little harsh.
In fact, the studies carried out are supporting what Sellin had forwarded in 1967 that “the presence of the death sentence in practice and law has no discernible effect as a deterrent to murder” (Bedau & Pierce, 2007). This means that using capital punishment does not necessarily mean that the crime rates will go down. To many people, the death penalty may sound as the worst and severe punishment or sanction that can be imposed on a person who has committed a crime. This still remains as the worst form of punishment all over history.