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Death penalty (Essay Sample)


A discussion about merits and demerits of death penalty



The death penalty has been a source of much controversy worldwide. The arguments for and against this law are as varied as the proponents and opponents. Various countries face different problems when making up their minds on the position of their laws and death penalty.
The offenses punishable by death in most countries include murder and robbery with violence. However, cultural and religious influences have led some countries to come up with special circumstances under which the death penalty is applicable. Some include drug trafficking, and even adultery! Proponents of the death penalty claim to be doing the world a favor by getting rid of criminals permanently. However, opponents claim that there is no possible act that a human being could commit that makes him deserving of death.
Proponents of the death penalty are mainly conservative people who prefer to follow ancient traditions and beliefs. In most societies of the early ages (even in the bible), people were condemned to death by hanging, stoning, shooting or other death for offenses such as murder, treason, theft, rape or adultery. As civilization evolved, the death penalty was reserved for more serious crimes such as murder, rape and robbery with violence. Nowadays, the countries that still have the death penalty only execute convicts of robbery with violence and murder. They are however under constant criticism especially from human rights groups. They are of the view that many wrongly convicted individuals have been executed. This is true since there are several cases where a suspect was convicted and executed only for new evidence to be revealed years later (Mitchell, 2001).
On the other hand, those who support the death penalty claim that there is no need to jail people for life since they become a liability. Maintaining a prison facility is expensive since it requires guards, staff such as cooks, cleaners and others to take care of it. Tax payers also have to feed the prisoners who basically do nothing all day. Proponents see it better to execute these convicts and be done with the expense (Mitchell, 2001). Another view is that some of the people jailed for life feel they have nothing to lose even if they get caught and therefore continue criminal activity even from the confines of their prison cells. Therefore, rather than deal with this, proponents find it better to execute them.
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