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Capital Punishment

Updated on January 18, 2010

Should Capital Punishment be abolished?

Capital Punishment is the legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law. People have been put to death for various forms of wrongdoing. It is one of the most controversial practices in the modern word. Today about ninety nations have abolished the death penalty. Since 1976, there have been 820 executions in the US. About two out of three executions are conducted in only five states: Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma. Texas leads the other states in the number of killings. The United States is one of the very few industrialized countries in the world, which continues to execute criminals. Further, it is one of a handful of countries in the world, which executes mentally ill persons, persons with very low IQ, and child murderers. It is time for Texan voters to take action against capital punishment and reform criminal codes. The capital punishment is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It violates the right to life.

Government has been using a variety of method to execute criminals. They use to hang the criminal in public place. Later, governments replaced traditional methods of causing death, such as hanging with what were regarded as more modern methods, such as electrocution and poison gas. The search for less brutal means of inflicting death continues to recent times. Lethal injection is now the preferred method of execution in the majority of U.S. states. However, sterilized and depersonalized methods of execution do not eliminate the brutality of the penalty.

The most compelling arguments against capital punishment are the risk of killing an innocent person, disproportionate infliction on the poor and minorities, weakness of the deterrence argument, failure to recognize that destructive life histories of criminals may have damaged their humanity to the point that is unfair to hold them fully accountable for their wrongdoing. Life imprisonment without parole serves the same purposes as capital punishment at less cost without the practical disadvantages and injustices of its actual practice. The individuals convicted of capital murder usually incarcerated for a few years before being considered for parole. During that time, they should be required to work. Part of their earnings would pay for their imprisonment, and another part would go to a restitution fund that would help victims of crime and the families of murder victims.

There is also overwhelming evidence that the way in which the death penalty is applied is grossly unfair, discriminatory and double standard for rich and poor. The quality of legal representation is a better predictor of whether or not someone will be sentenced to death than the facts of the crime. The quality of legal representation depends on whether or not you can hire a lawyer. Almost all people on death row could not afford to hire a qualified attorney. The race of the victim is often a decisive factor in capital sentencing decisions. Black people are more likely to get a death sentence than white people. Forty three percent of death row inmates are blacks, although African Americans constitute only twelve percent of the US population.

It is time for responsible citizen to take action against capital punishment and reform current justice system. Today most industrial democratic countries have abolished capital punishment. The worldwide trend toward abolition of capital punishment will likely continue.


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