Death Penalty, also known as Capital Punishment is sanctioned by the government and calls for the death or execution of a person who has committed capital crimes. These capital crimes include crimes against humanity, murder, drug trafficking, treason, rape, adultery, sodomy, economic and religious offences, and even some forms of robbery.
Many countries have abolished the death penalty over time or have not practiced it for years. Many no longer have it in place for ordinary punishments. However, thirty six countries around the globe still actively practice the death penalty. This shows that with regards to capital punishment the people are divided into two groups: the ones that oppose capital punishment and the ones that still hold onto it tightly.
Death Penalty Supporters
Countries like China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and many others still support the death penalty. Those that advocate the death penalty do so for mainly two reasons:
Many of the supporters of the death penalty give a moral justification for the punishment. They believe the punishment should be in proportion to the crime. Hence, in cases such as murder or genocide it is considered justifiable. Taken as an act of revenge, many supporters think a jail term is just not enough.
According to many of the advocates of death penalty, the punishment serves as a deterrent like no other jail term or punishment. It ensures that many others learn a lesson and do not commit such heinous crimes.
Death Penalty Opponents
Death Penalty opponents not only argue that the punishment does not deter crime, they also argue for two of the following issues:
- Human Rights
- Wrongful Execution
The death Penalty is seen by many as cruel and a complete violation of human rights. Moreover, many argue that its irreversibility and potential for unfair mental torture is not justifiable. Hence, to them it is not simple retribution but more than that.
Many opponents claim that capital punishment leads to injustice as it might sentence innocent people to death. The execution process itself can be unfair at times and the procedures of sentencing target specific races, classes, minorities or ethnicities displaying bias at all levels.
Therefore, although the capital punishment has been abolished by most countries, it is still practiced by some countries that view it especially as a means to lower crime rate. Its efficiency is rigorously debated while some are trying to come up with innovations, like non-painful methods of execution, in an attempt to reconcile the two sides once and for all.