The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished as It Is Not an Effective Deterrent and Violates Human Rights

The death penalty issue remains controversial, with both sides of the debate offering informative evidence supporting their stance. While the proponents of its abolition argue that it is a cruel and inhumane punishment, its opponents believe it is necessary to ensure that justice is served to the aggrieved parties. Primarily, the death penalty is essential in the criminal justice system because it deters potential offenders, lowering crime rates. According to Kort-Butler and Ray (2018), offenders are afraid of committing crimes covered under capital punishment because they fear facing the death penalty. The criminal justice system usually undertakes the appropriate legal procedures to find an individual guilty before sentencing. The death penalty is served to people who have committed heinous crimes against humanity to restore law and order and safeguard others, making it a necessary punishment to deter crime and prevent reoccurrence.

The death penalty is vital in deterring crime and making society safer. The threat of execution often makes a significant number of individuals refrain from committing a heinous act that they had otherwise planned. Notably, most acts punishable by death are major crimes against humanity, such as murder, terrorism, and drug trafficking, which adversely impact others. Considering their societal effects, such acts should be prevented at all costs. Destroying or ending the lives of others remains one of the worst crimes, necessitating equal countermeasures against the offenders. Typically, the punishment should ‘fit the crime;’ if someone kills, they too deserve to die. People who have murdered others have given up their human rights, including that of living (Peshkopia & Trahan, 2020). Crimes that violate basic human rights, such as the right to live, are arguably the worst against humanity, necessitating the need to prevent them at all costs. In this regard, enforcing the death penalty ensures that people who plan to murder others are aware of the harsh consequences.

Murderers deserve to die. The death penalty not only deters people from potentially committing heinous crimes but also ensures that murderers are prevented from killing again in either prison or society after serving their sentence. According to Choi et al. (2019), participants of their study supported the death penalty due to retribution. Murders are usually high-emotion cases, often putting the criminal justice system under extensive public scrutiny, with victim advocates crying for justice. Butler and Ray (2018) state that public support for capital punishment is largely symbolic. Those who prefer the death penalty express anger and distrust, while those who prefer other penalties are less trusting and view the death penalty as applied more fairly. For the criminal justice system to function effectively, people must trust it. Consequently, informed public opinion is valuable in guiding government policymaking (Choi et al., 2019). The judiciary should consider people’s opinions regarding legal matters to earn their respect and trust. The popular public opinion regarding court rulings is that punishment should ‘fit the crime.’ Therefore, once the criminal justice system proves beyond reasonable doubt that one is guilty of murder, the individual deserves punishment according to their crimes’ severity.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that it is an ancient vice that states should refrain from practicing in the 21st century. They claim that it is discriminatory against ethnic, religious, linguistic, and racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. The nations that practice or threaten to use the death penalty can utilize it in inappropriate endeavors, such as repressing opposition, instilling fear, and undermining human rights (Choi et al., 2019). Considering the issue of potential misuse and the resulting impacts, opponents of capital punishment believe it is not worth the risk. South Korea is an example of a country that previously misused the death penalty, affecting its effectiveness and perception. A history of authoritarian governance in South Korea depicts the improper use of the death penalty to instill fear and punish those against the government (Choi et al., 2019). Countries continue to execute and sentence people daily as punishment for different crimes, some of which should not be criminalized. While some states reserve the death penalty for murder and terrorism-related offenses, others enforce lesser offenses, such as human rights activism. As such, the opponents of the death penalty want it abolished.

Although some people consider the death penalty a cruel, degrading, and inhumane punishment, enforcing it is necessary to deter crime and prevent murders from killing again. Heinous crimes such as terrorism and murder pose a significant threat to the criminal justice system and humanity. Such acts should be condemned and punishable through the toughest possible laws. Furthermore, many people support the enforcement of capital punishment as a measure of deterring future potential offenders. Notably, the death penalty is justified because it deters people from potentially committing heinous crimes and ensures that murderers are prevented from killing again. Even though the opponents of capital punishment argue it is an outdated tool that should be abandoned because of the potential risks of inappropriate utilization, once the criminal justice system proves beyond reasonable doubt that one is guilty of murder, the individual deserves punishment according to their crimes’ severity.

References

Choi, E., Jiang, S., & Lambert, E. G. (2019). Reasons for South Korean attitudes towards the death penalty: Exploring the nexus between strong public support and history of misapplication. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 43(1), 61-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2017.1391107

Kort-Butler, L. A., & Ray, C. M. (2018). Public support for the death penalty in a red state: The distrustful, the angry, and the unsure. Punishment & Society, 21(4), 473-495. https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474518795896

Peshkopia, R., & Trahan, A. (2020). Support for the death penalty reinstatement as a protest attitude: The role of political trust. International Criminal Justice Review, 1-12. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1057567720963158

Author: Will Richardson
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