Aice global perspectives paper 2 To what extent should capital punishment be abolished
Introduction to Capital Punishment
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a legal process where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime they have committed. The use of the death penalty has been a subject of controversy and debate for centuries, with some arguing that it is a necessary tool to deter crime and protect society, while others believe it is a cruel, inhumane and ineffective form of punishment that should be abolished.
Historical Context of Capital Punishment
The use of capital punishment can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where it was used as a means of punishment for a variety of crimes. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many countries began to abolish the death penalty and replace it with less severe forms of punishment such as life imprisonment. However, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there has been a resurgence of interest in the death penalty in some countries, with some governments reinstating it as a form of punishment for serious crimes.
Arguments in Favor of Abolishing Capital Punishment
One of the main arguments against capital punishment is that it violates the right to life, which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Critics argue that the state should not have the power to take a person’s life, regardless of the crime they have committed.
Another argument against the death penalty is that it is often applied in a discriminatory manner, with racial and economic bias playing a significant role in the imposition of the death penalty. For example, studies have shown that people of color are more likely to be sentenced to death than white people for the same crimes.
A third argument against capital punishment is that it does not act as an effective deterrent to crime. Studies have shown that the rate of crime is not lower in countries that have the death penalty compared to those that do not.
Arguments in Favor of Retaining Capital Punishment
Proponents of the death penalty argue that it is a necessary tool to protect society from dangerous criminals and to deter others from committing serious crimes. They argue that the death penalty is the only way to ensure that dangerous criminals are removed from society for good, and that life imprisonment is not an adequate form of punishment for some crimes.
Another argument in favor of the death penalty is that it provides closure and justice for the victims of serious crimes and their families. Proponents argue that the death penalty is a way of holding criminals accountable for their actions and sending a strong message that certain crimes will not be tolerated.
The Effectiveness of Capital Punishment as a Deterrent
The effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent to crime is a subject of ongoing debate. Some studies have shown that the rate of crime is not lower in countries that have the death penalty compared to those that do not. Others argue that the death penalty is an effective deterrent, as the fear of capital punishment can act as a disincentive for people from committing crimes.
Alternatives to Capital Punishment
For those who believe that the death penalty should be abolished, alternatives such as life imprisonment without the possibility of parole are often put forward as a solution. Proponents argue that life imprisonment is a less severe form of punishment that can be used to protect society from dangerous criminals, while still ensuring that their human rights are respected.
The debate over capital punishment and its place in society continues to be a highly controversial issue. While some
argue that it is a necessary tool to protect society and deter crime, others believe it is a cruel, inhumane and ineffective form of punishment that should be abolished. Ultimately, the decision to retain or abolish capital punishment will depend on a number of factors, including its effectiveness as a deterrent, its impact on the human rights of those who are sentenced to death, and the availability of alternative forms of punishment.
“The Death Penalty Worldwide” (Amnesty International, 2021)
“The Future of the Death Penalty in the United States: An Exploration of the Issues” (National Research Council, 2012)
“The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective” (Raphael, 2006)
“The Death Penalty in the 21st Century: A Review of National and International Practice” (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2019)
“Capital Punishment in the United States: A Historical Overview” (Bohm, 2017)