Ethics of the Death Penalty

June 26, 2018 Studying Tips

Over the last couple of decades, capital punishment has received mixed reactions from countries and states all over the world. While there are several states that permit and uphold death penalty in their jurisdiction, human right movements, civil libertarians, and churches have termed the act as immoral and the one that is against the moral values for the survival of human beings. On their part, states practicing capital punishment argue that societies should be given the moral right to act in defense of the safety and welfare of their people who, in this case, are the citizens. Murderers undermine the safety and welfare of people within a society. Therefore, to make sure that the murderers will not kill again, they should be subjected to death.

This paper discusses is practicing of death penalties to the offenders of murder by states is morally upright. Secondly, it will also discuss whether it is just when the law permits an eye for an eye" the principle to those who will be involved in the killing of others. Thirdly, it will try to find out whether there is something like justified killing and whether allowing of capital punishment by states is ethical or rather moral. Lastly, it will determine on what grounds capital punishment should be upheld against the offender of murder and what crimes should primarily culminate in death penalties.


Is the Death Penalty Moral?

From a religious point of view, the death penalty is completely immoral. According to some dominions, people should be left to forgive themselves. Furthermore, who is to decide on who shall live or who is supposed to die? Religious people feel that it is only God alone who is supposed to decide the fate of any human on whether he or she is supposed to live or be sentenced to death. Human rights activists have also strongly opposed the execution of death penalty. They consider it to be immoral because it is like a way of revenging, something that is strongly condemned in holy books such as the Bible. They argue further to say that "You are murdering a murderer" which is one and the same thing. However, in personal opinion, the death penalty is moral and should, therefore, be executed for the reason that it is one of the most effective ways to deter crime in our society. Undoubtedly, one would not knowingly commit the crimes that will result in death penalty since everybody fears death. That will also ensure that there are no criminals alive to kill people as those who have been involved will have been executed as per the death penalty thus making the society free of murderers.

Can a " Eye for an Eye" be Morally Justified?

"Eye for an eye" principle can be justified. Why should one continue living while he or she has terminated another life? One should be treated based on his or her action. It looks very unjust to send someone who killed another person in cold blood to prison. Life in prison has in some cases appeared to be even better than that of the middle-class people living in the free society. When looking at the life of prisoners in jails, one is forced to think whether there is real justice in imprisonment. For instance, prisoners have been said to receive elementary education and take courses while serving their jail term in prison. As a result, many come out of the prison as people with the improved personal development. That is against the wishes of many in the society who invested their trust in these prisons to punish and upheld justice for the committed crime. That might be the reason why many criminals repeat some of their crimes after their jail term has expired simply because they are assured that life in prison is better than that within the society. In simple terms, justice is seen to prevail when these murderers are served with murder just like they deed to others.

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Is there Such a Thing as Justified Killing?

In the case of sentencing a murderer to a death penalty, in one way or another it can be termed as a justified killing. Most importantly, murder is said to have been accomplished when there is the killing of an innocent individual (Lundin, 2011). In that case, when a victim is being sentenced to death, he or she must have gone through a court process that proves his or her guiltiness and responsibility for the murder. There is, therefore, justice in the killing of the accused since he or she has been proven guilty to have terminated a life; justice comes in when the culprit ceases to exist. That way, through his or her disappearance, the society is set free of murderers who are responsible for taking away innocent lives. In line with that, since almost everyone fears death, no one in his or her right mind will attempt to kill another person because he or she will be subjected to the same death. Thus, even the relatives and friends of the person who was killed will have been relieved of their sorrow seeing that the murderer of someone they once loved has been treated in a manner he deserves. The situation will be opposite when they would witness that the offender lives after he or she murdered one of them.

Are All Murders Morally Wrong?

Not all murders are morally wrong. There are cases of murders when the offenders of the crime are set free by a court of law. The murder that happened while one was acting in his or her defense is acceptable by the law. When one's life is put in danger, he or she has the right to defend him or herself from being killed. For instance, somebody may be willing to kill an individual using a machete for one reason or another. However, trying to defend him/herself, the victim overpowers and in turn, kills the offender. In that case, the murder is justified and, therefore, is accepted by the law since one was trying to defend themselves. Another instance when a murder might not be viewed as morally wrong is when a group of people (in that case, a mob gang) approaches somebody and kills him or her. That mob would have had some reasons to do so. For example, a thief caught in the act of stealing may face the wrath of the crowd and therefore beaten to death. The law does not allow people to take power in their hands. In such a case, the murder is not regarded as morally wrong since the murdered is paying for his or her evil deeds.


Is Capital Punishment Ever Morally or Ethically Permissible?

Capital punishment is morally and ethically permissible for the reason that the government is the only organ that is supposed to allow capital punishment but not rather each and every other sector that feels to do so. For that reason, for the murderer to be convicted to a capital punishment, he or she must have been proven guilty through a court process. That way, the chances of convicting innocent individuals are highly limited. Undertaking capital punishment by the government ensures that it does not incur massive losses by feeding and clothing murderers kept in prison on the taxes paid by hard-working citizens. In fact, some of these murderers are very young; putting them in prison and catering for their living there will cause immense losses to the state. To many, capital punishment is the only correct form of punishment that adequately guarantees justice for some crimes committed in the society. The killing of another individual in cold blood finds no other justifiable punishment than the death penalty itself.

If So, When and What Grounds?

There are several factors that should be put into consideration when subjecting somebody to capital punishment. Such factors include the fact that one must be found guilty of committing a crime that would deserve the execution of death penalty. In such a case, a court process must be started beginning with the prosecution process of the suspect until he or she reaches the trial session. In line with that, the culprit must plead guilty to have committed the crime through the confession to the jury in a court session. If he or she fails to plead guilty, then the crime rallied upon him or her must be comprehensively evaluated using the detailed evidence presented by those prosecuting him or her. In case witnesses appear in the court, they should offer clear evidence in form of the detailed information of all that occurred in the crime scene. Thereafter, the jury is required to process all the evidence as it would be stipulated by the rule of law in order to determine guiltiness of the victim. In case the victim is found guilty, he or she should be sentenced to face the death penalty.

What Types of Crimes should be Eligible for the Death Penalty?

One would think that it is the only murder that can lead to capital punishment. However, there are other instances that can make one undergo death penalty. That depends on the governments and states all over the world. The most common cases include intentional murder that is mostly referred to as the first-degree murder. Other instances include "sabotage, train wrecking causing death of those in it, treason, perjury that leads to the execution of innocent individuals, fatal assault by a prisoner who is serving a life sentence in jail, kidnapping with bodily injury or ransom when a victim dies, aircraft hijacking, murder committed in the course of rape, drug crime or burglary, killing of a police officer, judge or prosecutor; murder for hire and murder by an inmate while serving a sentence of life without a parole".

In conclusion, death penalty serves as the most effective way to deter deadly crimes in the society. Such crime such as the killing of other individuals with or without any definite reason can only be curbed by sentencing the offenders to a death penalty. Since most people fear death, this has proven to eliminate most of such crimes in the society as no one is willing to die. Capital punishment appears to be one of the best ways to ensure that the government does not spend money on murderers while keeping them in prison. Though religion and human right movements view it as immoral, it is the only efficient and effective way to ensure that the humankind is protected from immoral members of the society.


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