Death Penalty: The ethics of medical involvement in capital punishment Essay

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, has, in the past, been exercised by many jurisdictions (Gaie, 2012). However, these days, only 58 nations actively exercise it and 97 nations have done away with it. The rest, nearly 50 states, have not utilized the law for a decade. They, however, permit it in exceptional situations for instance during wartimes. It is an issue of active controversy in numerous states and countries, and positions can differ in a single cultural region or political ideology. In the European Union (EU) member countries, the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights incorporated in Article 2 prohibits the use of death penalty (capital punishment) (Gaie, 2012). This paper will discuss the whether the inmate in the case provided should be allowed to talk to the family of the diseased so as to explain the matter. This discussion will include theories of morality, values, and consequences and describe the concepts and purposes of restorative justice, as well as restitution, among others.

The inmate who is considered to have commit murder was given a death sentence pleaded to meet with the family of the victim in order to explain the truth of the matter. It was as if the inmate was seeking the forgiveness of the victim’s family. Now, as much as the victim’s family considers it an offence that the inmate even thought about approaching them, they should be aware that there are some laws, which allow the victim to make such a loom. I come from the same family and it is easy to understand what the members are going through after losing one of their own. Seeking to explain to the family what truly took place in order for them to have sympathy on the inmate will certainly not bring back the victim.

However, some of the laws that the family should consider include restorative justice, inmate forgiveness and right to privacy. The family should be aware of the family group conferencing. The victim’s family is allowed to conduct a family group conference with the inmate since the victim cannot be incorporated in the meeting. Even though, such cases are normally prevalent in juvenile cases, it is permitted in such a matter because the victim is diseased and the family is the one filling the suite (Woolf, 2008). Cases can be located in Australia (New South Wales) under the 1997 Young Offenders Law, as well as in New Zealand’s Family Act of 1989 (Woolf, 2008).

In 2006, John Pears, then 21 years old, was forgiven by the family of a victim for being involved in the death of their third-born, 22 years old, son, Peter Jackson (Marzilli, 2008). John was driving the car the two were in while seriously drunk after having a night out at a nearby club in their Columbus-located, Ohio, residence. The two were involved in an horrible accident and Jackson ended up losing his life. After various court deliberations, John was sentenced to 10 years in prison for driving under the influence and also causing the death of Jackson. However, it was later established that Jackson was the one that persuaded John to get drunk and forced him to drive him home while drunk. The victim’s family was left with no other option but to forgive John for the mistake. What I am trying to bring out by giving out this case is that there are always two sides to a story. One might argue that John deserved a death sentence and nothing else, but he was not the main cause of the accident. This might be the case in the inmate in topic, as well. Therefore, it would be better if the victim’s family considered listening to the side of the inmate.

Also, not matter the case, such an endeavor by the victim to approach one of the members of the victim’s family is totally an invasion of privacy (Gaie, 2012). However, there are lawful ways that the inmate could have tried so that the family could be aware that the inmate wants to talk to them. A legal means could be much easier and it would ensure that no wrangles came up the way they are now (Kronenwetter, 2010).

With regards to various theories of mortal, values and consequences, the family should be aware that the inmate is also human and listening to his or her views are the most considerate they can do. They should also be aware that any decision they make will have some ethical consequences. They are a family, and; therefore, the final decision should reflect the views of every member. After going through various studies, it is only viable to argue that the family should allow the inmate to talk with them. Even if they end up not forgiving the inmate, airing the views is enough to relieve the inmate of his miseries.


Gaie, B. R. (2012). The ethics of medical involvement in capital punishment: A philosophical discussion. New York: Kluwer Academic.

Kronenwetter, M. (2010). Capital punishment: A reference handbook (2nd ed.). New York: ABC-CLIO.

Marzilli, A. (2008). Capital punishment – Point-counterpoint (2nd ed.). Chelsea: Chelsea House.

Woolf, A. (2008). World issues-Capital punishment. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Chrysalis Education.