Choosing revenge or forgiveness

The necessity and the morality of capital punishment has been a controversial debate of recent times.

Although many countries have abandoned the death penalty on the grounds that it breaches fundamental human rights, there are still some countries, both developed and not, which impose the death penalty to this day.

One of the most conventional arguments supporting the death penalty is of retribution.

For unforgivably brutal murders and crimes, the only satisfying atonement which can be made for the criminal's acts is their death.

However, this argument is very weak because not all victims and families of victims will feel that their sufferings have been compensated for solely through the death of the criminal.

In fact, to continue living after committing a serious crime would possibly provide a more effective punishment, as they will have to live with the knowledge of the magnitude of their crimes and the humiliation of their condemnation from society resulting from their acts.

Through punishment, the ruling body of a society aims to achieve general welfare by both discouraging the public from committing acts of crime and eliminating individuals who cause unhappiness and/or inconvenience to society.

Capital punishment is not shown to have the first effect desired from the result of the application of punishment: deterrence.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center website, states of the United States with the death penalty, on average, have a higher rate of murder than states without the death penalty.

This data does not necessarily mean the enforcement of the death penalty increases murder rates, as the death penalty may have been enforced because of the high murder rates, but this also shows that over the period where the death penalty has been enforced in these states, it has not had a significant effect in deterring murder crimes.

Crimes worthy of a death sentence, usually murders, are also rarely committed in a rational state of mind in which the criminal is able to consider the consequences of committing the crime, making the death penalty, as a deterrent, utterly useless.

The motives of murder usually involve grudges, sudden anger, influence of drugs and alcohol and mental illness, all which can be described as being in an unreasonable state of mind.

The final, and perhaps the most critical purpose of the application of punishments, is the correction of the guilty.

This is not only for the sake of the victims and the society. It is also for the offender.

Punishment imposed by a governing body should resemble punishment of a child by a parent: its purpose is also to correct their misbehaviour so they may learn never to repeat it..

The death penalty completely neglects this purpose of punishment, as death does not achieve the correction of a criminal, but rather a final, unforgiving end to them.

Capital punishment does not always provide an ultimate closure for victims, as is the case with any form of punishment.

It is not found to have a significant deterrent effect on murder rates, nor is eliminating criminals an effective solution to reducing crime rates.

And finally, its basis is that of resentment and revenge, not of forgiveness and deliverance, and a society with its laws built upon such hateful beliefs is no better than the criminals it executes.

 


• By Nanako Shitara, Year 12, Columba College

 

 

Although many countries have abandoned the death penalty on the grounds that it breaches fundamental human rights, there are still some countries, both developed and not, which impose the death penalty to this day.

One of the most conventional arguments supporting the death penalty is of retribution.

For unforgivably brutal murders and crimes, the only satisfying atonement which can be made for the criminal's acts is their death.

However, this argument is very weak because not all victims and families of victims will feel that their sufferings have been compensated for solely through the death of the criminal.

In fact, to continue living after committing a serious crime would possibly provide a more effective punishment, as they will have to live with the knowledge of the magnitude of their crimes and the humiliation of their condemnation from society resulting from their acts.

Through punishment, the ruling body of a society aims to achieve general welfare by both discouraging the public from committing acts of crime and eliminating individuals who cause unhappiness and/or inconvenience to society.

Capital punishment is not shown to have the first effect desired from the result of the application of punishment: deterrence.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center website, states of the United States with the death penalty, on average, have a higher rate of murder than states without the death penalty.

This data does not necessarily mean the enforcement of the death penalty increases murder rates, as the death penalty may have been enforced because of the high murder rates, but this also shows that over the period where the death penalty has been enforced in these states, it has not had a significant effect in deterring murder crimes.

Crimes worthy of a death sentence, usually murders, are also rarely committed in a rational state of mind in which the criminal is able to consider the consequences of committing the crime, making the death penalty, as a deterrent, utterly useless.

The motives of murder usually involve grudges, sudden anger, influence of drugs and alcohol and mental illness, all which can be described as being in an unreasonable state of mind.

The final, and perhaps the most critical purpose of the application of punishments, is the correction of the guilty.

This is not only for the sake of the victims and the society. It is also for the offender.

Punishment imposed by a governing body should resemble punishment of a child by a parent: its purpose is also to correct their misbehaviour so they may learn never to repeat it..

The death penalty completely neglects this purpose of punishment, as death does not achieve the correction of a criminal, but rather a final, unforgiving end to them.

Capital punishment does not always provide an ultimate closure for victims, as is the case with any form of punishment.

It is not found to have a significant deterrent effect on murder rates, nor is eliminating criminals an effective solution to reducing crime rates.

And finally, its basis is that of resentment and revenge, not of forgiveness and deliverance, and a society with its laws built upon such hateful beliefs is no better than the criminals it executes.

 


By NANAKO SHITARAYear 12, Columba College

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