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Death Penalty In Our Society Philosophy Essay

I am for the death penalty because crime is everywhere we look, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, even in our own homes. To overlook that crime and criminals are not a part of our daily lives is a crime in itself. The death penalty should continue in order to remove the monsters from our society. Not every criminal deserves to die, but some certainly do. The death penalty serves as a deterrent which means to punish someone as an example and create fear among society. The death penalty is one of those extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sensible person.

Ernest van den Haag, a sociologist stated in his article "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty", "One abstains from dangerous acts because of vague, inchoate, habitual and, above all, preconscious fears".

Everybody fears death. Most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. Although there is no statistical evidence that death penalty deters crime, but most of us would agree we would think twice if we knew we would be sentenced to death.

With the ever-increasing population in our prisons proves that imprisonment is not enough for some people to stop them from committing crimes. There are currently 15 states without the death penalty. In these states they only have life without the possibility of parole. What is going to keep these prisoners from committing more murders in the prison? They have nothing else to lose.

According to Paul Van Slambrouck, an editor of the Christian Science Monitor, and the statistics gathered by the Criminal Justice Institute, “Assaults in prisons all over the US, both against fellow inmates and against staff, have more than doubled in the past decade.

Since the death penalty is considered a tremendous punishment our judicial system takes a lot of time to finalize the decision of whom is put on death row. There are nine safeguards stated in the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human Rights, guaranteeing protection of the rights of the criminals facing the death penalty.

For example, "Capital punishment may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts", "Anyone sentenced to death shall receive the right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction".

Death penalty is irreversible, but with the technology we have today, such as DNA, we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person charged with murder is guilty and it is very unlikely that an innocent person would be condemned to death row.

In December 2009 the Bureau of Justice Statistics released the 2008 version of its annual report on the death penalty.   Information drawn from the report includes:

The average time between sentencing and execution for all those executed in 2008 was 11.75 years. This means that they have years to appeal their conviction, and to prove their innocence.

According to Federal Justice Statistics, in 1998, there were approximately 5000 criminals sentenced to life imprisonment and only 74 criminals sentenced to death. This shows that judicial system itself is very careful with death sentences. There is far less number of death sentences than life imprisonment sentences without parole given out every year.

Some people believe that death penalty is inhumane. Well! So is murder and rape. Death penalty is not revenge. Rather, it is a matter of putting an end to a life that has no value for other human lives. Sentencing a murderer to death is in fact a favor to the society. Despite the moral argument concerning the inhumane treatment of the criminal, we return to the "nature" of the crime committed.

Can society place an unequal weight on the tragically lost lives of murder victims and the criminal? In "The Death Penalty in America", Adam Bedau a Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University wrote, "even in the tragedy of human death there are degrees, and that it is much more tragic for the innocent to lose his life than for the State to take the life of a criminal convicted of a capital offense”.

Ask those people who have lost their loved ones or whose lives have been turned upside down because of some crazy person. I am sure they would be very unhappy to see the person who ruined their lives just getting a few years of imprisonment or mere rehabilitation.

Consider the two rapists and serial killers, Jeffery Dahmer, who tortured, raped, killed and ate young gay men. And Ted Bundy who kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered women. Now, suppose that one of their victims were your wife, sister, brother, son or daughter. How would you feel knowing that the person who ruined your life, except for their freedom, have the same rights as you, three meals a day, and you are helping pay for their incarceration.

The former, Attorney General of Indiana, Theodore L. Sendak delivered a speech to Law enforcement officials in Northern Indiana on May 12, 1971 (as cited in Isenberg, 1977):

He stated:

“Our system of criminal law is to minimize human suffering by works or order primarily to forestall violence or aggression. In the question of the death penalty, we must ask ourselves which action will serve the true humanitarian purpose of criminal law. We should weigh the death of the convicted murders against the loss of life of his victims and the possibility of potential victims to murder.”

I firmly believe that if one does not value the life of another human being, then one's own life has no value what so ever. Our justice system makes sure that criminals who are rightly accused are brought to justice. The death penalty serves a purpose, bringing justice to the criminals and the innocent victims of crimes. In order to definite serve its purpose, it must be adjusted and made more effective and efficient. The death penalty ensures the safety of our society brings justice to those who have suffered and most importantly helps in reducing crime and criminals in our society.


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