Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished Philosophy Essay

Death penalty is the act of punishing someone to death for an offense. Questions have been arisen to whether death penalty should be abolished in countries around the world. The pro’s and con’s of death penalty.

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Therefore, the purpose of this research study is to collect reviews on both sides of the argument. It starts off with the description of death penalty and the different types of death penalty. Interesting issues are brought up like the wrongful executions, death penalty being deterrent to crime and the alternatives to death penalty.

Based on the investigation that is carried out which evaluates the causes, effects and ways to solve the question of death penalty, the many reasons for why death penalty should be abolished is being proven and thus concluding the thesis statement.

The word death penalty gives a frightening feeling to people. It’s where you know when one’s life is about to end whether it is an innocent man’s live or a convict.

Death penalty is defined as ‘the killing of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense’. Today, one of the most debated issues all around the world is about death penalty. It is greatly an important topic as it speaks about the life of one’s.

There are 8 types of death penalty practiced in an official capacity in the modern world. Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing an immediate death. Gas chamber executions are where the prisoner is strapped to a chair inside a sealed gas chamber. The executioner (standing outside of the chamber) pulls a lever dropping potassium cyanide pellets into a vat of sulfuric acid, flooding the chamber with lethal hydrogen cyanide gas. The electric chair is also another common form of capital punishment. The prisoner is shaved, strapped to a chair, and fitted with electrodes attached to conductive sponges–one on the head, one on the leg–creating a direct current. The prisoner is then hooded. The executioner pulls a switch, and 2,000 volts race through the prisoner’s body as the internal body temperature approaches 140 degrees. Executions by firing squad works on strapping the victim to a chair with five sharpshooters aiming at the victim’s heart and all five pulling the trigger. There is also death by hanging. The prisoner stands on trapdoor, and a rope descends from a wooden beam overhead. The rope is fastened around the prisoner’s neck in a “Hangman’s noose,” which tightens when pulled upon. The executioner pulls a lever opening the trapdoor and dropping the prisoner, who ideally dies quickly due to a broken neck. Death by stoning is arguably the world’s oldest form of execution. The prisoner is buried either up to his waist (if male) or up to her shoulders (if female) and then pelted with stones by a crowd of volunteers until obviously battered to death. Death by beheading is probably the most humane form of punishment. The victim is restrained, usually forced to kneel, and the executioner removes the head by way of a sword or knife. Lastly, crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large cross (of various shapes) and left to hang until dead.

Aim of report. The purpose of this report is to investigate the factors on why death penalty should be abolished and the many reviews on death penalty by the people all around.

This study draws on information gathered from various Malaysian and international articles, World Wide Web sites and video documentary.

2.0 Why are some people for the death penalty.

There are a number of reasons on why some people are for the death penalty although majority is on the way of abolishing it. Some sees it as a way to better yet end the crime rates around the world.

2.1 Capital punishment holds the criminal accountable for his/her actions. Justice is something that everyone will live with happily, if every country adapts to it. It is when a guilty person should be punished enough to the crime one has committed. Death penalty should be put on a person who commits heinous crimes because this is where justice takes place. Someone who commits crimes like murdering and rapping or other forms of heinous crimes are likely favorable to the death penalty as the crimes committed are too much for the society to be look upon. They are bound to get the punishment for the offense that they made. Anyone familiar with the law enforcement knows that punishments can be inflicted only on an unavoidable “shudder” selection of the guilty (Bedau, H., 1977). Irwin Isenberg (1977) said, when you kill a man with premeditation, you do something different than stealing from him. “I favor the death penalty as a matter of justice and human dignity even apart from deterrence. The penalty must be appropriate to the seriousness of the crime (p. 135).

2.2 Prevents recidivism. The death penalty protects the public from the most heinous criminals and it also protects us from psychiatrists, judges, parole boards, and celebrities who can too easily be hoodwinked by a practiced con-man determined to win his freedom in order to continue his criminal career. People on death row are unable to get out of prison and are waiting for the day they are put to death. Once they are put to death, there is absolutely no recidivism to worry about.

2.3 Death penalty is a deterrent to crime. Supporters of the death penalty believes that death penalty can deter crime as the offenders are put to death and will never commit crime again as they are put to death. Thus crime rates can be seen as decreasing over some time. Supporter of the death penalty are most at ease because at least that one killer will never again have the chance to kill. Society will live at ease too as they know that the crime rates around them are decreasing and they can live life more comfortably.

3.0 Why do some people oppose the death penalty.

Majority of people oppose the death penalty as it brings more disadvantage to advantage.

3.1 The wrongful executions of an innocent person. Unlike all other criminal punishments, the death penalty is uniquely irreversible. When a judge sentences a man to death penalty, it is an execution of an innocent person if later evidence shows that the man is not guilty after all. Hence a life goes to waste in that one reckless and irreversible decision. In cases of death penalty, they are a number of those who are executed are the innocent ones.

In Georgia in 1975, Earl Charles was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. A surviving victim of the crime erroneously identified Charles as the gunman; her testimony was supported by a jail-house informant who claimed he had heard Charles confess . Incontrovertible alibi evidence, showing that Charles was in Florida at the very time of the crime, eventually established his innocence — but not until he had spent more than three years under death sentence. His release was owing largely to his mother’s unflagging efforts.(35)

3.2 The high cost of the death penalty. In short, death penalty wastes money. The cost from having a death penalty could be used for other useful purposes. A murder trial normally takes much longer when the death penalty is at concern than when it is not. Litigation costs – including the time of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and court reporters, and the high costs of briefs – are mostly borne by the taxpayer.

3.3 The victims’ families’ perspectives on the death penalty. Several families and loved ones of murder victims encourage alternatives to the death penalty for many reasons, including: The death penalty process is a traumatizing experience for the loved ones of the victims because it often requires them to relive the pain and suffering of the death of their loved one for many years. Life without parole withholds certain punishment without the endless reopening of heartache.

3.4 Inadequate legal representation. Another matter in the death penalty cases are most of the defendants in capital cases cannot afford their own attorneys. In many cases, the selected attorneys are overworked, underpaid, or lacking the trial experience required for death penalty cases. There have even been cases in which lawyers appointed to a death case were so inexpert in that field that they were completely untrained for the sentencing phase of the trial. Other appointed attorneys have slept through parts of the trial, or arrived at the court under the influence of alcohol. A good legal representation might help a lot in cases of death penalty for some people, especially the innocent ones.

3.5 Alternatives to the death penalty. In every state that maintains the death penalty, jurors have the choice of condemning convicted capital murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence is cheaper to tax-payers and keeps the offender off the streets for good. Unlike the death penalty, a sentence of Life without Parole also allows mistakes to be corrected.

3.6 Religious perspectives on death penalty. Most people are living with their own beliefs or religions though there are minorities of people who are free-thinkers. Almost all religions around the world regard executions as immoral. Among them are Christianity, Buddhism, Jewish, Islam and Judaism .

4.0 There are better methods to punish the offenders than death penalty. Death penalty can be too cruel to punish the offenders and no one should take the life of others other than God. Despite this, offenders are not excused from being punished for what they did to others as they still need to be punished but just with other alternatives to the death penalty.

4.1 Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus restitution. The most demanded option to the death penalty is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus restitution. This alternative keeps the criminal jailed for life so they will never be able to return to society and condemn further offense and it also cost cheaper than the death penalty. Restitution is when the prisoner is behind bars, he will be working and the money earned will go to the victim’s family.

4.2 Prison with parole. Someone committed for murder has an average 20 years of life behind bars. As for a convicted murderer the average time before being released is around 8.5 years. Most murderers do receive parole and goes back to society based on these numbers. John DiIulio writes that even though some paroled murderers remain dangerous, “the huge majority of [them] never commit another murder or violent crime. Many have not only gone straight but have continued paying their debt to society… by making post-release restitution, manning youth and community outreach centers that work with juvenile felons, and more” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15, 1997).

4.3 Reformatories. Reformatories which is also known as rehabilitation are used to reform criminals which works with the moral issues, physical and mental of an offender instead of just putting them behind bars. They try to turn the lives of offenders around by putting them to work in society so they could try having a normal life in society. A good use of this process would be for juveniles on death sentences. This better alternative to the death penalty is a more sensible resolution for them to try to rehabilitate the criminals instead of punishing them.


My research on issues on the death penalty is one of the most debatable in the criminal justice system. Today, there are many pros and cons to this death penalty issues.