Is Death Penalty Effective? Essay

A debate has existed in the United States of America for quite some time that whether death-penalty proves itself to be a justified and valid form of punishment for the wrong-doings of the people or not. Its controversial intensity can be predicted by the fact that whenever the words “death-penalty” rises, two different groups of people start debating between themselves. Extremism is observed in the views of both the groups. One group says determent, dissuasion, obviation and preclusion while other group says desertion ad surrender. An example from the history tells us that in 1975, two African American men in Florida named Freddie Pitts and Wilber Lee were granted commutation after twelve long years awaiting death-penalty for the murder of two white men. Their conviction was as a result of constrained confessions, spurious testament and an adduced bystander. After a long time of nine-years of battle in the courts, a white confessed his guilt and Pitts and Wilber were granted absolution by the governor. Had their death-penalty not been delayed due to the court-battles, they would have naively executed.
The history of death penalty can be traced back to the eighteenth century (B.C) when the laws for it were established. As years passed these penalties were used all over the world to kill the guilty people. After the World War II the United States protected pregnant women, elders and children from these death penalties but did not abolish it completely. Over these years many countries have abolished it but the United States still follows it to a certain extent (Death Penalty Information Center).
The proponents of the death-penalty justify it by biblical quotations to use death penalty as the ultimate punishment for murders and equivalent crimes. The bible says that the murders must be vindicated: life for life is what the bible says about murders. But the justifications presented cannot be applied in the modern world because of the ethics that apply these days. The bible’s quotation about life for life was for that time when the unjust and violent people were killing innocent and exemplary people. According to most of the people, the death-penalty should be abolished from the U.S and that the criminals must be given a chance to change themselves. Death row inmates can spend their time in the law library and interact with each other and somehow get the wind of the crime of what they have done and accept to change from the bottom of their hearts.
The process of death qualification was constitutionally challenged in Lockhart v. McCrea on the basis that it produces unrepresentative and doctrine procumbent juries. The United States Supreme Court rejected such challenges by questioning the truthiness of the relevant social science research. But according to me, the challenges made were completely just and the government should have had taken suitable steps in order to eradicate this barbaric act from the society (Guernsey 39-42)
The moral disengagement is also an aspect worth discussing in this regard. According to a study by Osofsky, Bandura and Zimbardo in 2005, they took direct words from the executioner. The executioner said that the ECG monitors are in front of him when he carries out the process. His duty is to push the syringe in the veins of the guilty and lower the heart beat of the guilty until it becomes flattened. The harder he pushes, the more flattened is the graph and once he empties the last injection, the pulse rate reaches zero indicating that the guilty is now dead. He adds further that it is distraught to see someone die in front of him and leaves a great impact on him even after some days. This research helps to conclude that the executioner has vivid thoughts about the incident too as it is a harsh process to be carried out (Osofsky et al 373-380).
The opponents believe that death-penalty should be abolished because it is a barbaric act of murder which involves the death of an individual in a similar fashion that he might have committed a wrong act. Moreover the death-penalty is totally against the benchmarks of Human Rights as proposed by them. In addition the judges and the decision making authorities do make mistakes in judging people and can lead to unnecessary capital punishments to take place. Research around the globe has shown that the error rates are extraordinarily high. Moreover, the death-penalty is also not effective in securing a society as it leads to more deaths. Imprisonment for life can rather be a very effective punishment as it helps the criminal to change from a person that he previously was (Guernsey 67-77)
The United Nations Human Rights Commission passed a resolution in 1999, supporting worldwide abeyance on the law of capital judgment. This appealed to the countries which had not abolished the law of death-penalty from their constitution. In United States the number of executions is gradually decreasing from a total of three hundred in the year 1998 to 106 in the year 2009. It is also seen that many of the countries nowadays have abolished death penalty as a whole for offenses that can be rather fulfilled with a parole only. But it is still seen that 58 countries support the death-penalties including the United States, China, Iran and Vietnam. (Amnesty International)
In conclusion, I believe that death-penalty should be abolished because killing a human being is morally wrong. In addition, the death-penalty for a criminal who has not committed a murder but has rather been involved in other crimes, like smuggling of drugs then the capital punishment should never be enforced upon these prisoners.
Death Penalty Information Center 2011
“Abolish the death penalty | Amnesty International.” Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. .
Guernsey, J. A. B. (2010). Death penalty: Fair solution or moral failure?. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books.
Osofsky, M. J., Bandura, A., & Zimbardo, P. G. (August 01, 2005). The Role of Moral Disengagement in the Execution Process. Law and Human Behavior, 29, 4, 371-393.