Death penalty is not new in the judicial system of the United States. The state of Virginia was the first to apply it to captain George Kendal who had committed the offence of being an emissary of Spain.
It surprises to realize that the penalty has been there since the year 1608. During this time, the penalty covered all the people who had committed any of the 25 criminal offences specified by the judicial system where the offenders met their death through drowning, piercing with a sharp stake, excruciation, and blazing or beating to death among others.
However, there stands many questions concerning the penalty and in particular the people whose crimes pass for the penalty. As the paper reveals, the penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crimes.
The death penalty does not at all serve as an impediment to criminal offences. As Caxton (2008) observes, the penalty is quite “ineffective as a deterrent to lower crime rates” (Para. 1). The efficiency of the penalty ought to depend much on the type of the felony committed as well as the psychological state of those who commit it.
Majority of those who commit slaughter crimes do it based on their psychological challenges. For instance, insane people might decide any time to kill innocent people. Therefore, even if the judicial body subjects this penalty to this group of people, it will not deter the criminal offences since the crime doers cannot think logically.
In countries like the United States, crime rates are comparatively high. The observation follows several reasons one being the fact that majority do it unaware of the corresponding repercussions. Therefore, as Schaefer (2009) points out, “…they will continue to commit the crimes as long as they do not face the necessary consequences of the action” (p. 176).
Another reason behind the high crime rates is the fact that the death penalty covers some, but not all the crimes. Therefore, even if the penalty is put under operation, it will leave a space for some other crimes, which usually outweigh the ones it covers.
Different countries have responded differently towards the penalty with some rejecting it and others welcoming it. For Instance, some like Germany and Switzerland have declared the penalty unworthy thereby abolishing it and coming up with some other penalties in place of the death punishment.
They have adopted the life sentence where the offenders stay under arrest for an unknown length of time thereby going through rehabilitation. However, others like Singapore have accepted the penalty claiming that it effectively hinders criminal offences. In fact, Jeralyn (2011) confirms this.
He says, “Singapore’s law provides the death penalty for anyone caught with more than 15 grams of heroin (Kong had 47) and provides no exceptions” (Para. 1).
However, based on my opinion concerning the penalty, I do not accept it. Instead, it ought to be abolished and declared illegal because it is against the eighth amendment act, which forbids such punishments like the death penalty since according to it, they are no more than bizarre sanctions.
In addition, based on the misconceptions behind the penalty, some people have faced it unfairly, not based on the nature of crime, but based on their inability to cater for the expenses of their lawyers who in turn abandon them leaving them to defend themselves. In such situations, the judges end up declaring the offenders guilty and worth the penalty.
Youths, who have committed violent crimes, ought not to face the death penalty based on their value, not only to their families, but also to the world at large. The society expects a lot from them since they are energetic and quick of understanding.
Therefore, as a way of punishing them, the judiciary needs to rehabilitate them by instilling in them skills, which they will apply to sustain themselves and their communities, a plan that will leave them with no time and reason to commit such crimes.
Caxton, G. (2008). Death Penalty in the United States. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
Jeralyn, C. (2011). Singapore’s Mandatory Death Penalty: Yong Vui Kong. Retrieved
April 18, 2011. http://www.talkleft.com/story/2011/1/30/63652/1953
Schaefer, R. (2009). Sociology: A brief Introduction. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.