Crime and justice have had different impacts on today’s society and perhaps are some of the commonly referred to terms in the history of judiciary. Different countries have had different ways of dealing with offenders depending on the nature of offence committed. From medieval times, there have been different degrees of punishment meted to offenders. Categories of crime have tended to differ but capital punishment has been regarded as one of the oldest forms of punishment. Beattie, 1986) defines capital punishment, the killing of someone convicted of crime by the state due to crimes or offences which are capital in nature. When capital punishment is mentioned what comes to the minds of many is death penalty, these two words are synonymous. Severity of punishment or natures of executions are determined by social, emotional, political as well as religious orientations. Although some countries have abolished it, for example Britain and Canada, others such as the USA continue to practice it in many of its states.
As noted by, (Wolfgang, 1990 ), the prevalence of capital punishment is higher in some regions or locations than in others. Until modern times, the justice system can be said to have been particularly cruel to the offenders by denying them their rights. Capital punishment has generated a debate on its morality and effectiveness. Despite the heat generated by the thorny issue that, capital punishment is, capital still an effective method of punishment.
Measures such as educational programs aimed at promoting capital punishment as well as amending existing laws to iron out issues which impede the application of capital punishment as an alternative to other forms of punishment can go along way in explaining to opponents the numerous advantages of the type of punishment. No one can certainly say when capital punishment as a form of punishment started or where it was first practiced but archival records point to the fact that, it has been in existence for as long as mankind existed and it was very popular method.
Moralists argue that, capital offenders should be treated with the dignity they deserve bearing in mind their fundamental human rights. A right is defined as a duty or responsibility entitled to an individual by the state (Wolfgang, 1990). Capital punishment is grounded on the retributive justice theory also referred to as the ‘eye for an eye’ punishment; it assumes that a victim has a right to ‘hit back’. Capital offenders have hurt others, maimed or even killed them and therefore deserve to be punished for their mistakes.
This (Wolfgang, 1990) argues is the only proportionate measure of punishment bearing in mind that, that is exactly what their victims undergo. Although this positioned is opposed to many human rights activists on the ground of offenders’ rights to life, the fact that, the offenders take away victims rights unclothes the offenders as rights. Rights of capital offenders. In most justice systems the focus is turned on capital offenders and they are usually mistreated and viewed with suspicion by the society. There is a need for the wider public to appreciate rights of capital offenders.
More awareness of the rights of offenders will curb violation of human rights as well as assist in the rehabilitation process. The following are some general rights of capital offenders: • Right to privacy. • Right to correctional treatment administered in a professional manner. • Right to protection from harm by victims. • Right to good and health living conditions in the jails and prisons. • Right to channel grievances and complaints and seek legal redress. • Right to access legal assistance from the government agencies for their defense. Forms of Capital punishment. In the early times, crucification was a very common form of punishment.
Stoning was a form of capital punishment and entailed subjecting the offenders into an array of stones which totally incapacitated the offender and eventually led to death. Burning of offenders was also practiced as form of punishment and it involved decapacitating an offender before hauling him/her to fierce fire with an aim of killing the offender. Chopping of offenders’ heads was very common and it was considered as les tasking and a quick was of punishing offenders. Throwing people to deans of carnivorous animals was also an option when it came to capital punishment.
Other forms included, drowning, shooting the offender, throwing offenders from cliffs and other high places where the velocity of falling down resulted into the offender bursting into peaces and therefore death. More recently other forms such as lethal injections have been practiced. In terms of capital punishment on countries, many countries have abolished it, including Britain Canada and most of the European countries although it s still practiced in the majority of the states in the US. Advantages of capital punishment. Capital punishment has proved effective in that it is a deterrent to crime.
Often when robbers of potential trouble makers witness or experience the execution of their colleagues, naturally many tend to internalize the pain it comes with, this is an effective way of deterring crime and minimizing crime levels which has become a problem in most places in the world. Capital offences are very serious since they have far and wide reaching consequences on the society, therefore capital punishment is viewed as and effective way of preventing crime from happening again since perpetrators are executed. That way, innocent people are protected.
Capital punishment is effective in discouraging would be offenders from joining crime. This is because, many people tend to join crime as a result of peer pressure as well as the environment, if the same observe their role models getting into trouble as a result of crime they are less likely to engage in crime. In terms of the victim, many victims heirs are very satisfied with capital punishment as a just punishment to offenders. This is useful in that, the heirs/victims get reprieve and can easily get over the psychological trauma associated with death of loved ones especially through un-natural means such as murder.
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