Capital Punishment Ethics

Capital punishment/death penalty involves execution of a (convicted) criminal through death sentence. It is implemented as a punishment in capital crimes which includes murder, rape, adultery, drug trafficking, and corruption. Countries employing capital punishment classifies death penalty depending on the virtue ethics present in the specific country. For example, some countries reserved death penalty for murder and treason while other countries direct death penalty for sexual crimes (rape), human and drug trafficking.

Some of the European and Asian countries employ capital punishment, specifically in democratic countries (United States of America, Guatemala and Zambia). In some cultures, punishment through death sentencing is an insult to their culture. Supporters of capital punishment argue about resolving crimes and prevent recidivism while the opponents argue about violations of human rights and discriminates minorities. In 2006, China (1 010), Iran (177), Pakistan (82), Iraq (65), Sudan (65) and United States (56) carried out most number of the criminals executed.

In most of the countries employing capital punishment, most are developed nations that retained capital punishment. Even after death penalty has been suspended, these countries still resume in executing criminals. Virtue ethics emphasizes the moral character as against to consequentialism (emphasize the consequence of actions). Capital punishment in reference to virtue ethics imply unconstructive to our moral values. However, different societies view capital punishment in accordance to their moral rule while others view capital punishment not as an option in a committed crime.

The society directs to what its system will employ punishments (of a crime) in accordance to their (virtue) ethics. This is affected by several factors present in the society including; kind of government (i. e. republic, socialist, communist, etc. ), religion (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Mormons, Muslims, etc. ) and the society itself. For the last decades, people around the world employed death penalty as a solution in minimizing crimes. However, many countries already abolished capital punishment including Philippines.

Among the retentionist countries, implement death penalty on juveniles (e. g. Iran executed 4 child criminals in 2006). In China, inmates were executed by firing squad. In the Philippines, criminals were executed through lethal injection (before capital punishment had been abolished in 2006). The practice of death penalty had been accepted in developing and authoritarian countries. In Asia, the death penalty is widely supported by the public (in retentionist countries) while the European community restricts practicing death penalty.

Abolition and/or retention of capital punishment in democratic countries are supported by the public. In such cases, (some abolitionist countries) the public supported capital punishment. In Europe, most countries abolished death penalty as an entry condition in European Union. In United States, some states abolished capital punishment (Michigan in 1846). The states in U. S. do employ independent charges for death penalty. Debates have been continuously occurring regarding capital punishment, whether it is right to implement or not.

In consideration to the ethical perspective, death penalty was often abolished. In a particular case which involves brutal murder, some countries employ death sentencing (only in brutal crimes). In United States, miscarriage of justice tends for the judiciary to revive a debate on capital punishment instead of abolishing it. Our virtue ethics says that every individual has an equal right to live and seek happiness. In a just community, taking lives is not permitted. The act of executing a criminal is unjust and immoral to the society.

Thus, implementing capital punishment in a moral community violates its beliefs. There must be an alternative way of finding justice in individuals committing unjust to the community. In addition, punishment must parallel to the degree an individual committing a crime. The virtue ethic suggests high degree of moral achievement and maturity. The cost of death sentencing is comparatively high whenever a criminal is executed. A particular government is charge for the place, lethal injection paraphernalia, and the burial of the criminal which is not ideal.

The issue on racism is another factor in implementing death penalty specifically in the United States. The black community resists and protested in issues regarding unequal treatment of the whites. The alleged dehumanizing/uncivilized nature of capital punishment is another issue where the authority violates human rights. In the Philippines, the word salvage connotes killing. The garrote and silya elektrika are some of the methods of death penalty employed during 1980’s (Philippines). In my opinion, death penalty should not be practiced in any society.

Whether an individual commits sexual harassment or brutal murder, we do not have the right to take lives. The society does have their reasons why capital punishment must and must not be employed. It is important that the ideals of the people must not be influence on racism, violation of human rights and uncivilized nature of capital punishment.

Works Cited

  • Cauthen, Kenneth. “Capital Punishment. ” 12 June 2007. University Press of America. 30 November 2007 <http://www. frontiernet. net/~kenc/cappun. htm>.