The earliest historical record of the death penalty otherwise known as capital punishment goes back as far as the eighteenth century B.C., when the code of King Hammurabi of Babylon listed 25 crimes which were punishable by death. Since then, the uses of the death penalty have prevailed throughout the ages in laws and justice systems of different civilizations. For instance, the Draconian Code of Athens punishes all crimes with the death penalty. During those times, the death penalty involved suffering a gruesome death such as being burnt alive, impaling, crucifixion and stoning (Death Penalty Information Center, 2011).
In America, capital punishment was first implemented with the arrival of early European settlers as a form of punishment for various serious crimes. Although the scope of crime punishable by death penalty differs among the states, many states used to follow the British codes of conduct which declares 13 crimes to be punishable by the death penalty (Information Plus, 1995, “Capital punishment: cruel and unusual?”).
Currently, death penalty has been abolished in many countries except for roughly 25 countries which carried out execution in year 2009 (antideathpealty.org, 2011). In America as of year 2011, the death penalty has been abolished in 4 states, leaving 34 other states still practicing it. However, the number of executions and death sentence has decreased tremendously over the years. (Dieter, 2011)
With the European Union and the Human Right Watch pressing for the abolishment of death penalty, there is much disparity and debate among the citizens of the United States of America on whether the death penalty should be continued or abolished. For the advocates of the death penalty, they champion death penalty as the only way to make criminals pay back for the crimes they have committed towards the society. On the other hand, those who are against the death penalty hold firm to their belief that the state should not have the power to impose the death penalty since it is an extreme punishment which disregards the sanctity of life.
However if we review the evidences and arguments in depth, it is fair to argue that death penalty should be abolished since firstly, it is an unethical and unjustified punishment. Secondly, it is ineffective at preventing crimes and finally, there has been much evidence of it being arbitrarily imposed.
In this report, the area of research is focused directly on capital punishment in America excluding that of religious and cultural beliefs.
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According to opponents of the death penalty, the death penalty, not only does not heal the wounds and hearts of the victim’s family and society, but it will also inflict more hatred and vengeance in the society. As Morgan (2011) said in her chapter “The Death Penalty Does Not Deliver Justice”, death penalty does not allow the relative of the victims to forgive and forget. For instance, she believes that seeing the cold-blooded...