Capital Punishment a Crime Deterrent

With exponentially increasing crime rate, is there any other effective way that the government could take so as to assure the safety of its citizens? The government, powerful at it is, may any time at any cause, vanquish a convicted criminal’s life, with of course, proper jurisdiction by the law. But is it really so? Aren’t these so-called criminals also citizens of the states whose lives should be under its protection? Capital punishment, though can be traced back to as early as time immemorial at the time of Moses where he destroyed the Egyptian army as punishment for the evil deeds.

It can also be read from the bible incidences, that God himself  destroyed the sinful city of Ghora among other biblical stories like taking Israelites lives as punishment for their sins. Capital punishment or death penalty was introduced by Europeans specifically, the British, the first of which, was in 1608. It was in the late 1960’s when capital punishment was authorized in America’s 10 states, with an average of 130 in-rows per year mostly were cases of murder, rape and desertion. (Green, Melissa S. 2005). In 1999 alone, about 99 inmates were executed. A total of almost 13, 000 were convicted to death since it was introduced.

It was late in 1967 when questions regarding the legalities of the act arise, and was claimed to be in contradiction with the Eight Amendment to the US Constitution. And long has been a bone of contention between the state and the church for many years because of its cruel nature and which is against the will of God. Debate on how justice is being served and how death penalty is being applied has been increasingly getting the attention of the public. Death penalty, before being imposed must be well imposed by a competent room and supported  by adequate evidence that is unquestionable in nature.

Everything must be done with much safeguard. Death penalty is imposed to punish the offender and doing or imitation of such act will be discouraged. It instills fear to others that committing crimes won’t be in any circumstance tolerated by the state. And in a way, gives a sense of security to innocent citizens that they are safe from any harm. But what if the innocent himself was the one convicted to death? A 1987 study presented evidence that 350 people convicted of capital crimes in the USA between 1900 and 1985 were innocent of the crimes charged.

In most cases the discovery of new evidence resulted in acquittal. Some prisoners escaped execution by minutes, but 23 were actually executed. ( Stanford Law Review, vol. 40, No. 1, November 1987, pages 21-179. Extracted from: When the State Kills… The death penalty: a human rights issue, Amnesty International 1989 ). In a recent statistics, around 35 mentally challenged individuals were executed in the United States. Do these people deserve such grave punishment when at their old age have an IQ of a 7 year old child? It is nothing different from punishing an innocent child to death.

Johnny Penry and Tony Chambers are classic examples of retardates who were convicted to death but in the end the latter was found innocent. Chambers just admitted the crime without even understanding what is it that may have befallen on him. They are just human who doesn’t have the gift of reasoning. Who cannot distinguish good from what is evil. A study showed that 15% of  those convicted were mentally retarded. It is at this light, that we must start to think about the kind of justice that is being served in our country.

Is this the justice that can provide one the peace that he’s been screaming about? Executing an innocent person in the name of justice? This can really happen and it can happen to anyone of us. Death penalty is being imposed to inflict fear among offenders. But does it really so? It is also executed to give justice to those who were victims of these heinous crimes. . There have been numerous research studies on the deterrent effect of capital punishment on crimes but these researches were not conclusive either for the deterrent effect or non-deterrent effect of capital punishment.

influence, predispose a human being from committing crime which can be obviated by simple fear of death specially one that is only a possibility, in the distant future and maybe even one can hope to escape. Capital punishment imposes a certain fear or stigma that man would value his life so much. Criminals would think twice before committing a crime knowing that their lives could be at stake. The question is. What if you have to kill to save your life? Does this make you a criminal at that?

Without proper jurisdiction of the court and with evidence talking for itself  a victim could be the convicted. From the socio-psychological perspective complemented by the moral-ethical-spiritual history of mankind, it may be surmised that such complex dynamic as criminality may not be reduced to a single factor as capital punishment. It is to suggest that there is only one dominant factor that affect human behavior – the fear of death. Various factors have been considered   for the impetus we call crime – "genetic, hormonal, biological or cultural conditioning" (http://www.

crimelibrary. com/criminal_mind/psychology/index. html). There has been numerous research studies on the deterrent effect of capital punishment on crimes but these researches were not conclusive either for the deterrent effect or non-deterrent effect of capital punishment. His graph of both homicide rate and imposition of capital punishment when superimposed showed that "the homicide rate is almost the mirror image of the number of executions" (Jay Johansen, Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime? http://www. johansens. us/sane/law/index. html).

There were points of potential arguments against this observation, which he himself commented in a justifying way at the end of article, and which further shows how such data can not be conclusive. A study conducted from 1754-1969 mostly from the different states of the US and from Sweden, Australia and Netherlands showed variations of results from contrary to deterrent theory, no deterrence, insignificant correlation, inconsistency with deterrence theory, no support, neutral effect to consistency with deterrence theory (Janet Chan and Deborah Oxley. (2004).

Since research data do not point to any conclusive evidence to the deterrent effect of capital punishment it is left to us whether it really is the solution that increasing crime rate. Because unless issues about death penalty has been settled, it is only then that justice could be served to both the victim and the offenders. Capital punishment is not the only way to serve justice. It just shed light from those who had hoped that there is still chance to change. Yes, maybe, it has started from God. But God is the Supreme Creator of all, and only He who can take the lives of those He had created.