Death Penalty: Pros and Cons of Ethics Behind Capital Punishment

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Is death penalty ethical? Death Penalty is ethical because it follows Hammurabi’s code which says An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Death Penalty has been used for hundreds of years and over the years it has only got less extreme. Today execution is being used for only the most extreme cases, unlike how the Romans would use it for entertainment. Death Penalty is also said by the victim's family and close friends to bring closure. This can go back to Hammurabi’s code because these families want the criminal to be killed like their family members were. On October 3, 1993, Julie Heath was raped and killed by Eric Nance after he picked her up from the side of the road. Heath’s family said that Nance “tore their family apart” and the only way that they would have closure is if he was killed (Santham). 

People have said that there is no such thing as closure and that executing the criminal only makes it worse. That killing the criminal makes the families emotionally worse than they would have if the criminal sat in jail for their life. These people think that it is better to let these people rot in jail but people can still control the outside world from jail. The death penalty allows for the victims families to know that these people are gone forever. For people like Recebba Petty whose daughter was raped and strangled by her own uncle, said her mind was made up. That the decision of whether or not to execute her uncle that killed her daughter was easy, that getting him executed was going to help close this horrible chapter of her life. 

Death Penalty brings closure to some but others think that it is cruel and unusual punishment. Judith Elane says that the Death Penalty is unethical because it can be seen unfair, there are people that do the same crime but one is executed and another is not. This comes down to the witnesses and the drive that the family has on getting the criminal executed. The process of actually executing someone is long and hard. It starts with the crime and then the criminal going to a regular trial that proves then guilty or innocent. If proven guilty, the judge will determine the sentence of the criminal. At these trials the judge will have the choice between a life sentence or death penalty; the judge will ask the jury to give their opinion (DPIC). The jury will decide this on past criminal records and the nature of the murder. If the jury decided that it is appropriate then the criminal will be sent to death row where they sit on average for 16 years before getting executed. The offender is able to ask for an appeal which also has many stages. 

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Many criminals that are death row will ask for an appeal and if they are given an appeal they go to a regular jail. Not all death row inmates ask for appeal because in some of the cases the offender thinks that they deserve to be executed; they know that what they did was wrong and accept their punishment. Some people say that they would rather see this criminal rot in jail rather than getting executed but these criminals still sit in jail for most likely over 10 years and then get executed. Death row is not a glorious place, these offenders are put into single cells like solitary confinement but instead of being in a room without communication they are most likely in a hall with other members on death row. On average a death row cell is about 90 square feet which are the size of some New York City studio apartments (RCLCO).The death row inmates are living rough but not as rough as some people think. They are given food and the health care that they need because it is not allowed to execute someone in bad health. 

States like Ohio and Alabama have said that it is wrong to execute someone that can’t remember the crime they committed; if it is said that the person should not be executed they will still be in prison for life. Some other sickness that will lead to someone getting an appeal is cancer, tumors, and other major health problems. Someone like Doyle Lee Hamm who was 61 when he was given an appeal because he has cranial and lymphatic cancer. Compared to the Romans, Puritans, and others today’s death penalty is a lot better.  Over time the world has changed and so has the death penalty. Romans would use execution as entertainment when putting on plays and the puritans would hang someone just because they thought they were going against the bible. At least we aren’t killing people just because they are dancing in the woods or talking bad about a book. The death penalty allows people to not alone get closure and it allows the co-victims to know that the offenders won’t hurt anyone else. Over the years there have been many people that have escaped the prison and the death penalty allows for people to make sure these criminals don’t do anything bad again. Criminals like El Chapo who murdered people escaped from prison by paying the officers to let him out.

If people like El Chapo were sentenced to death they would have not had the chance to escape and hurt more people. People can bribe officers to help them escape or get better treatment, people can also sneak things in from visitors and other people outside of jail. By knowing that these criminals will not hurt anyone else again it could lift a blanket of the stress of the co-victims back.  Other than helping the victim's families and making sure these horrible criminals don’t do anything bad ever again, the death penalty helps make sure that prisons don’t get overpopulated (editor of Vittana). In the United States, there are about 2.3 million people in state and federal jails. Capital Punishment makes space in these prisons and jails so that more people that need to be convicted can. Another way that the death penalty helps with overpopulation is that is can scare people to not take part in the crime. The death penalty can make sure that people in prisons don’t get influenced by these dangerous inmates and it can make people outside of prison think twice before doing a crime. If these possible criminals know that if they do certain crimes they will be executed then they might not do whatever crime they were going to do. Offenders need to know that they are not going to get away with crimes like murder. People should know that their actions have consequences. Growing up we were taught to treat people how you want to be treated and that if you hit someone to expect to be hit back. This “rule” should not just go away because people get older and the crimes get worse. 

People need to be punished for the horrible things that they do. If they kill multiple people then they should be killed because they do not deserve to live. This can go back to Hammurabi’s rule: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Hammurabi’s rule should not be followed like it was in the mesopotamian’s would, but it should be loosely followed. It should be followed in the way that if someone thinks it’s okay to take another's life for no reason then they should except for their life to be taken from them. Some people might see this at revenge but it is truly just treating people like they treat others. The death penalty can be seen as revenge because some think that they are just killing these people because they did something bad. That is what they are doing, these states are taking these criminals that are dangerous and executing them because that is what they deserve. Execution makes sure that these horrible people get what they deserve and that if the court thinks that their crime was so bad that they should get killed then the court should have the options to execute the criminal. 

The government is not killing people left and right, they only kill people that they think deserve it. So, yes Death Penalty is a form of revenge but there is a reason behind every execution, the government is not killing people just to kill people. Revenge is causing pain on someone because they caused pain on someone else. Death Penalty causes pain because it is taking these people's lives but the execution its self is normally painless. Lethal execution is the most common form of execution and it was made so the criminal would be in less pain. Lethal execution causes less pain than a firing squad, hangings, and electrocution. This also shows that over the years execution has grown. Death Penalty is ethical because it shows that there are consequences for these horrible actions. Death Penalty can help bring closure to the victim's families and make sure that these criminals don’t do anything bad ever again. It helps with the overpopulation in some prisons and eliminates the chance of danger that these offenders could bring. Death Penalty is ethical because it loosely follows the Hammurabi’s code, which has been used for hundreds of years. Death Penalty has also grown over the years, it has become morally better and the numbers of crimes that are punishable by death have decreased. Comparing the death penalty today to the death penalty in the 1800’s it has greatly improved, not only have the method of execution has got better but we aren’t executing people based on religion. 

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Death Penalty: Pros and Cons of Ethics Behind Capital Punishment. (2023, February 21). WritingBros. Retrieved April 16, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/death-penalty-pros-and-cons-of-ethics-behind-capital-punishment/
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Death Penalty: Pros and Cons of Ethics Behind Capital Punishment [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 Feb 21 [cited 2024 Apr 16]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/death-penalty-pros-and-cons-of-ethics-behind-capital-punishment/
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