Should Capital Punishment Be Banned?


On July 14, 2020, Daniel Lewis Lee became the first inmate executed by the federal government since 2003. There are currently 52 other inmates on federal death row. 10 federal death row inmates have been executed since federal executions resumed in July 2020.

The recent executions in India took place in March 2020, when the four men convicted of the gangrape and murder.

Saudi Arabia has performed at least 158 executions in 2015, at least 154 in 2016, at least 146 in 2017, at least 149 in 2018, with possibly 184 executed in 2019.

Capital punishment or death penalty, is a state-sanctioned practice of killing someone as a punishment for a crime. Fifty-six countries retain capital punishment, by the end of 2019; 106 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes; eight have abolished it for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes), and 28 are abolitionist in practice.

Although most nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where the death penalty is retained, such as China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, as well as in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka.

capital punishment banned

This is a very controversial subject both morally and politically and has been a topic of debate since many years.

The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

The term capital (lit. “of the head”, derived via the Latin capitalis from caput, “head”) describes execution by beheading, but executions are carried out by many methods such as hanging, shooting, lethal injection, stoning, electrocution and gassing.

Crimes that are punishable by death vary depending on the jurisdiction, but commonly include serious offences against individuals such as murder, mass murder, aggravated cases of rape, child rape, child sexual abuse, terrorism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and offences against the state including attempting to overthrow government, treason, espionage, sedition, piracy, aircraft hijacking, drug trafficking, drug dealing and drug possession and in some cases acts of recidivism, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping.

Cesare Beccaria quote

Saudi Arabia has a very low rate of crimes because it imposes death penalty and severe punishments. Capital punishment for criminals can act as a deterrent. The most frightening thing for a human being is to lose their life; therefore, the death penalty could create a sense of fear among them and prevent them from committing serious crimes in the distant future. But this claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime.

Death penalty breaches the most basic human rights – right to life and right to live free from torture and cruel rreatment. Every person should be given a second chance, a chance to improve, be a better person. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment and mistakes happen and a chance for reformation should be given.

Martin Luther King Jr. quote

There are cases of horrific crimes which are beyond the point of rehabilitation. For such cases, capital punishment not only creates a deserved punishment equivalent to the crime committed but also provides safety for the rest of society. It can provide families of victims with some closure/justice, which may help them to deal with their suffering. However, it could also be used to take revenge. It can also be used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.It does not provide a sense of safety and security but it displays the violent culture of a country.

Death sentence as a punishment doesn’t really make us any different from the offenders. Only difference is, what they did was against the law and what we have done to them was by the law. Giving death in cases like rape, acid attacks, murders,etc is very easy on the lawbreak.

Instead they should be given life imprisonment to suffer like they made the victim and their families suffer. For them, death is just an easy way out. It is discriminatory.

The weight of the death penalty is disproportionally carried by those with less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds or belonging to a racial, ethnic or religious minority. This includes having limited access to legal representation, for example, or being at greater disadvantage in their experience of the criminal justice system.

Gandhi quote

The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.

In some countries death sentences are imposed as the mandatory punishment for certain offences, meaning that judges are not able to consider the circumstances of the crime or of the defendant before sentencing.

There are so many thing involved in justice system and if anything goes wrong, it could lead to a miscarriage of justice/worngful execution. It can result from non-disclosure of evidence by police or prosecution, fabrication of evidence, poor identification, overestimation of the evidential value of expert testimony, unreliable confessions due to police pressure or psychological instability and misdirection by a judge during trial.

There have been many wrongful executions in the past.

Numerous honest and innocent people have been beheaded.

The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2 percent and 10 percent. That may sound low, but when applied to an estimated prison population of 2.3 million, the numbers become staggering.The United States has been the subject of more wrongful conviction research than any country in the world. The results are troubling.

From 1989 to 2017, more than 2100 were wrongfully convicted and subsequently released from prison because of evidence of their innocence.

Henry Ford quote

Capital punishment is irreversible.

If the person is proved as innocent after the death penalty, there will be nothing left to be done. It happened in a significant number of cases; sparing the guilty and taking the life of an innocent one instead. The risk of executing an innocent can never be eliminated.

Death penalty should be given only and only in rare of the rarest cases. Life imprisonment could also serve the purpose of the death penalty. Many people do not know that life imprisonment is not only for 7 or 14 years, it could actually be for life.

The idea of suffering is way more frightening than death with no pain, guilt, realisation of their fault.