Crime Punishment in our Society

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A common yet controversial topic in our society is whether or not capital punishment is still needed in our society. Capital punishment otherwise known as the death penalty has existed for thousands of years and has remained a controversial topic for many of those years. The most preferred or most common definition for death penalty is "The authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime." (Webster) But the people in modern society are debating whether or not we should continue to use this punishment. The most common arguments for and against the death penalty include; whether or not the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment, if it serves as a deterrent for other criminals, and if it goes against religious morals.

Cruel and unusual punishment has been a very common response to the legality of the death penalty. Those who are against the death penalty will state that is unconstitutional for us to end a human life as punishment for a crime they have committed. While this argument attempts to use the eighth amendment to provide a base for their argument few people who support this argument have considered what types of crimes need to be committed for a criminal to become viable for this punishment. The majority of criminals who are facing the death penalty have not only been accused, but also convicted of murder or a crime leading to the death of someone else. These criminals have taken the most valuable possession humans will ever own, life. This is a type of theft that cannot simply be repaid through a life in prison or even death, when a person loses their life, their friends, family, and their community are affected by it. In some cases the death penalty, can be considered a blessing to the criminal, as life in prison or freedom may quickly result in them being beaten or seriously harmed by anyone who sees them. A cruel and unusual punishment would be releasing them back into public with no form of protection.

The counter argument for this could very well save the lives of the convicted. Although it is unlikely mistakes happen in court such as having a bias jury or false evidence which can lead to an innocent person being sent to prison. In rare cases such as that of Hank Skinner or Marcellus Williams, advancing technology such as DNA evidence was used to prove that the person on death row was innocent (Berman, M., & Lowery, W. 2017). Both men were hours away from their execution and had it not been for the new evidence innocent men would have died. But these men were lucky, many others just like them were put to death, but were later proven innocent. These wrongful executions are evidence that at any time someone who is scheduled to be executed could be an innocent person near death. Being that main goal of the criminal justice system is to provide swift and accurate decision making the fact that innocent people have wrongly been convicted is not something we should take lightly. But how many people who are executed were actually innocent? According to the National Academy of Sciences its estimated that approximately four percent of those executed were innocent and any amount of people wrongly convicted is bad, it is not a valid reason to prevent the continued use of the death penalty for those who are guilty.The second of the most common arguments for and against the death penalty is whether or not the death penalty serves a deterrent for crime. The pose of criminal justice system is not only to provide justice for the victims, but to also serve as a deterrent, a punishment, and rehabilitation to criminals. It goes without saying that the criminal has been greatly rehabilitated and punished when they receive the death penalty, but what about others? Do they gain a fear of crime by knowing they could die as punishment? Most criminologist agree that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent for crime (Facts about Deterrence and the Death Penalty).

Realistically speaking the concept of capital punishment is not likely to be on a person’s mind if they are committing a crime. Even if the death penalty is of concern the crime being committed is clearly of greater value then the punishment. If we combine this with how much money average execution Boggess 4cost, there is no reason to debate. It would cost less to keep the criminal in prison for life then to execute them. Both mental and physical effects of living in prison, are easily a worse punishment then death penalty. The other problem with chances of a person on death row being mentally ill is much higher than those who are considered average (Maurer, Diana 2018). These people are likely to be suffering illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or they have psychopathic behavior. These people should not be caged or executed like animals, they deserve the ability to learn from their mistakes. While the purpose of the criminal justice system does attempt to deter members of society from committing crimes.

This is not always the main goal in every case. The two main goals for the system, aim to provide justice and punishment. While it may be rare being sentenced to death is still a punishment. There is little that can be done to actually deter crime in society (Keyzer, A. M. 2008). While life in prison could be considered worse than death and is cheaper, this could lead to increased overcrowding in prisons. Our modern prisons are not capable of maintaining the amount of prisoners being brought in. Prisoners who are spending life in prison will not be contributing in any way to the outside world and are costing others money. On average it cost between 30 to 60 thousand to house an inmate and 90 thousand for someone on death row. With nearly 162,000 inmates serving life sentences and 3,000 on death row, we see millions of dollars being wasted that could easily be used elsewhere. The current methods of execution are also to costly, in Virginia the lethal injection cost $16,500(Virginia's lethal injection 2016). While it may seem less ethical, the cost for 50 rounds of 9mm cost at most $35. With the 50 rounds it would also make the executions more efficient, shoot the person in the head and continue on. A person who is mentally ill does not receive a get out of jail card. Despite sounding brutal or harsh, unless the person was being forced to commit a crime they are still responsible for their own actions. Nearly half of the U.S population suffers from depression a mental illness.

So, the decision to commit a crime is still a personal choice as half the population is not stealing or murdering each other. Because it will always have an effect on how people behave and react, religion effects whether or not someone will support the death penalty. Christianity is the largest and most commonly believed religion in America. But even with approximately 70% of the nation believing in the same religion there is still a divide on this topic (Pew Research 2015). Since the start of biblical times we have proof that the death penalty is wrong. The bible is constantly teaching forgiveness even for execution worthy crimes. When a woman was accused of adultery, Jesus was asked if she was to be stoned. His statement is a clear answer to the death penalty. "Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone," he is showing that all of us are guilty of a sin and that none of us should have the ability to end someone else’s life. Jesus Christ took on all of our sins for us when he was nailed to a cross. His death was to abolish the laws and ideas of the old testament and of man. God had made it very clear from the beginning of the old testament that there are crimes such as rape and murder are inexcusable. The punishment for these crimes were usually a quick but painful public execution. Something that we greatly need today to help deter crimes. God has told us that "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man" (Genesis 9) This law is given to us directly after God had executed the entire planet including children, leaving only Noah’s family and food/animals. For us to ignore this law would be directly ignoring God. Not only are murder and rape execution worthy crime in the bible, but also striking or cursing a parent, kidnapping, adultery, oppressing the weak. We should have continued all of these executions as due to disobeying them we have an overcrowded and sinful world.

The common misconception is that Christ death was a turning Boggess 6point in the bible, it was not. Christ himself said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5). Christ has given us instructions and we as believers are to follow them.?

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Crime Punishment in Our Society. (2021, Mar 15). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from
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