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A Permanent Death - Capital Punishment

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

There are five basic reasons that society uses when imposing "punishment" that I've been able to conclude from my readings. I will discuss these societal concepts and show that the death penalty does not serve to further them. As a result William Smith should not be subject to the death penalty and in fact the same should be abolished from our system of "punishment".

Deterrence
Deterrence is basically defined as "the punishment should fit the crime." Under this concept, the individual committing the crime and society are prevented from committing this action again. In the case of the death penalty, an individual kills another human and he is "punished" for it by death. Punishment is supposed to be a temporary penalization for a wrongful action. Death is far from temporary. One is to learn from one's mistakes. How can the person learn if they are paying for their mistake with their life? In Ernest van den Haag's article, "The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense" he states, "The death penalty is our harshest punishment. It is irrevocable: it ends the existence of those punished, instead of temporarily imprisoning them." (Haag, 251). By imposing the death penalty the individual does not learn from their mistakes and neither does society.

Economy
Under this concept, punishment should be economical. As Haag points out, "...the monetary cost of appealing a capital sentence is excessive." (Haag, 253). Further, "...actual monetary costs are trumped by the importance of doing justice." (Haag, 253). Additionally there are specific costs associated with keeping an inmate on death row, (i.e. the cost of the specially built prison blocks, the need for maximum security, etc.) and more. These costs clearly out weigh the regular costs incurred to house a regular inmate. Deterrence is clearly not served by imposing the death penalty and society aims for justice are thwarted.

Restitution
Society demands that the punishment should fix the harm it has done. By sentencing a person to death no harm has been fixed. You can not bring the murdered person back by taking the prisoner's life. "Punishment-regardless of the motivation is not intended to revenge, offset, or compensate for the victims suffering or to be measured by it." (Haag, 253).

Retribution
The community demands that justice be served. Would justice not equally be served and in fact may be better served by life imprisonment? I believe it would be a worse punishment to endure a life sentence in prison....

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   Capital Punishment

Length:   5 pages (1,223 words)

Views:   1497

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