Capital punishment or the death penalty is one of the most controversial and hotly debated subjects in the United States of America. It is awarded to those who are convicted of first – degree murder that is murder committed in cold blood, with prior intent and planning. Opponents of the death penalty claim that it is a detestable form of retribution and a gross violation of human rights, while the supporters argue that it serves a preventive function and saves the lives of innocents.
By comparing and contrasting the arguments extended for and against capital punishment, it is possible to gain a clear perspective on the issue. Detractors of the death penalty claim that there have been cases where innocent people have come dangerously close to being executed for crimes they did not commit. Supporters meanwhile argue that convicted first – degree murderers who have been pardoned have nearly always resumed their killing ways and claimed the lives of many innocent victims.
Those who call for abolition state that such a measure is a violation of human rights with regard to convicted first – degree murderers, but others assert that one must give precedence to the rights of the victim rather than the hardened criminal and ensure that the former is vindicated. The effectiveness of capital imprisonment over life imprisonment as a deterrent has also been debated. By carefully analyzing the pros and cons against the death penalty, one finds oneself in favor of capital punishment. It protects the innocent by ensuring that murderers cannot kill again and it also serves as a preventive measure.
Finally one may take recourse to statistical data as an argument in favor of the death penalty, because studies have revealed that “In contrast to the general declines in the leading death penalty states, the largest abolitionist states have seen rising homicide rates” (Cassell, 2004, p. 194). The facts as they say speak for themselves. References Cassell, P. G. (2004). In defense of the death penalty. In H. Bedau & P. Cassell (Eds. ) , Debating the death penalty (pp. 183 – 217) . New York: Oxford University Press.