US Capital Punishment Issue Sample

Capital Punishment has been recognised as a civilised way of disposing of their unwanted criminals by most countries at one time in their history. Slowly countries that claim it is uncivilised to kill people for crimes they have committed have abolished the death penalty. There are strong arguments for and against the use of the death penalty in a society that claims to be civilised and in this essay I will examine them. I will also look at the impact of the death penalty on crime figures in Britain before and after 1965 and in the USA today.

I feel it is important to include the USA in this essay as it is the only westernised country where you can still be executed for crimes you have committed. Over the years countries have tried to come up with the most seemingly civilised ways to putt people to death. One of the main arguments for the abolishment of the death penalty was that it is unreasonable to ask someone else to kill someone for their crimes thus making them a murderer.

Countries have tried to find the most indirect way of putting criminals to death however the act still have to be committed. Technology has come along way from the primitive times of just chopping someonei s head of with an axe or hanging them by their neck from the nearest tree. In 1887 an American dentist made of the biggest advances in 'humanei?? capital punishment. He devised and built a chair with equipment that could be used to pass electricity through the head of the condemned, killing them quickly and supposedly painlessly.

This was the most indirect method of putting someone to death at the time. All the executioner had to do was pull a lever, the electricity was turned on and the prisoner was electrocuted to death. When they first started using it they realised that it usually took more than one surge of electricity to kill and the prisoner had to be finished off with a second or maybe even third surge.

Also they realised that the execution was not the pleasant to watch, the prisoner may foam at the mouth, convulse violently and in some extreme cases catch fire. A certain amount of people had to be present at the execution and to make it seem more acceptable they started to put a hood over the face and to lessen the chance of a second surge of electricity being needed they would place a wet sponge under the main plate of the equipment to aid in the conduction of the electricity this also lessened the chance of the body catching fire.

'We were lead into a small room and sat down on folding chairs, the man was lead in and his rites read, then it was almost like a ceremony and everything was seemingly carried out so precisely, after the man was pronounced dead by the doctor he was taken away by the prison guards. Only then were we released and I could smell burning flesh for hours afterwards. I felt sorry for the man as he looked so frightened and I could see it was hard on the prison guards. After this experience I do not feel this is the right way to treat Gods people.

This experience proves that the Electric chair was not as humane as was once thought. Later on America started to gas its prisoners. The gas chamber was a way of combating the smell, it catching fire and chances of it being unappealing to the spectators. The victim is lead into a chamber strapped to a chair much like the electric chair. The rites are read, a lever is pulled and gas is released into the chamber. The gas chamber can take sometime to kill a person although they are unconscious very quickly.

Also it has the same problems as the electric chair in the fact that it is not very nice to watch because the prisoner can foam at the mouth and lose control of their bodily functions and they can defecate themselves. To make it a little easier on the eye someone invented a mask that would let the gas through but mask the foaming. As technology has made the death penalty more humane it has also helped in the attempt to make trials fairer and ensure that less innocent people are out to death.

The police admit that in the past many innocent people have been put to death but they point out that forensic science was not nearly as advanced at the time of Britainis last execution. As DNA has been more easily used to solve crime, people who were not responsible for the crimes they are charged with have more chance of proving their innocence before being put to death. However the case is not so, many states manage to kill 'New York has executed more people later found to be innocent than any other state.

Surely the only way to stop these deaths is to abolish the death penalty all together. Although there are still some people who feel that the death penalty should be reinstated in Britain today. In Britain a man called James Hanratty was convicted and hung for the murder of government scientist Michael Gregsten and his mistress. A posthumous pardon was granted after DNA results proved that it could not have been Hanratty that had committed these murders. 'I'm dying tomorrow but I'm innocent. Clear my name. 

This begs the question is a pardon enough? I believe the answer is probably no! Many people agree that the death penalty should remain as some crimes are so hideous that they are not able to be paid for by spending your life in prison and they feel that the 'ultimatei?? price should be paid, your life. Myra Hindley is one of these examples, the crimes she committed against the 5 children she and Ian Brady systematically kidnapped, tortured and murdered are felt by some people to be so horrible that she should be killed.

I feel this case is very controversial because at the time it was committed it was unheard of for a woman to commit such crimes against children. However the feeling still remains that this woman is so evil that she should not live her life to its natural end. 'She [Myra Hindley] is so evil in her doings that she should never again see the light of day.  Society can say that by ridding the world of such an evil woman that they are doing a favour for the community. Surely we do not want such people in our world and people who do such things should depart the world as a warning to other not to do the same.

Some people argue that the moment someone commits a hideous crime they are knowingly breaking the law and in doing so hand over their lives to the judicial system of the country where they committed that crime. In some respects this is true by natural law. An eye for an eye means that you should have done to you what you do to others, if you commit murder then you should be murdered and by taking the life of another prematurely you are giving up rights to carry out or life to its natural end. But what happens when someone is unable to differentiate between right and wrong at the time of his or her crime.

Ruth Ellis was executed at Holloway prison in 1955 for the murder of her lover David Blakney. She shot him after he beat her so savagely that she lost her unborn child. The jury only took 27 minutes to convict her of murder. Her barrister was never disputing the fact that shed carried out the murder just that she was not of sound mind when she did so. 'She was ditched, she was physically abused and she took her revenge.  Today it is almost certain that Ruth Ellis would not have been punished so harshly today as we now believe in diminished responsibility.

But the whole thing begs the question should we be killing anyone for their crimes? Surely no one is in a stable mental state when they extract life from another human being. Some people argue that the death penalty will deter criminals however there is no evidence to support this as Americas crime rate is higher than that of Britain where there is no capital punishment law. 'The U. S. murder rate is 6 times that of England, which does not have the death penalty, even though the rates of other crimes in the two countries are similar.  What is also surprising is how much it costs to put someone to death.

In a state where there is so much crime the money would be much better spent on extra policing on the streets and yet they continue to spend around $2. 38 million a year on putting people to death that is enough to fund: 434 police officers or 337 public school teachers. It is also enough to build 34 new elementary schools. It would cost the state half on the money it does to execute theses criminals, as it would to put them on a 'Life without parolei?? sentence and then the rest of the money could be put back into the state. In conclusion I must say I believe that that death penalty can never be classed as civilised.

All it does is make the state a murderer. People should not be expected to punish other for their crimes by taking away their lives. The money the American Government spends on executing its unwanted could be used to provide so much more constructive benefits to the whole country. I feel that they should concentrate on building a country that is seen as civilised, humane and moral instead of destroying lives of those considered to be evil. I feel that the use of capital punishment just demoralises all that we are taught from an early age about life being sacred.

It is saying that yes life is sacred but some lives are less sacred than others. I feel that any country that claims to have religious foundations cannot condone the death penalty, as they should believe that the only person who can take life is God Almighty. I feel from reviewing my evidence the death penalty is a contradiction because it is saying it is wrong to kill and to punish you we are going to kill you. Surely this is a double standard, it is ok for the state to kill someone and not pay for the loss of a life however if someone else does it they can be punished.