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Debate about Death Penalty

Debate about Death Penalty

A lot of people wonder what the meaning of death penalty is. Truthfully, death penalty is considered as the operation issued by the law to kill a convict or a condemned individual in order to punish him for a lot of reasons like killing others or breaking the law. In addition, the first people who used the death penalty were the Egyptians in the sixteenth century where a noble man from a wealthy family was forced to be killed because he used magic and did magical works. On the contrary, the actual application of death penalty goes back to the Chinese old laws. According to the Historical facts, death penalties had a lot of types such as crucifying the convict or hitting him till his death, setting him on fire, chocking him by gas and killing him using electricity, hanging him till he dies, shooting him or injecting him by using lethal injection in addition to other terrible methods and ways. In fact, not all the countries around the whole world use these techniques but the majority of them do.

The United States and Death Penalty:

In America, crimes in which death penalties are applied change according to the law and the rules of the state. In fact, crimes are named capital crimes or capital offences if they could lead to death penalties or execution. From nineteen seventy two to nineteen seventy six, the Supreme Court issued a decree in Furman against Georgia in order to stop and cease death penalty. 

On the other hand, there are various names used to refer to death penalties. These names and terms are death sentence, execution, judicial murder and capital punishment. As for the United States, there are five kinds of death penalties which are used by the law to punish killers and convicts. These kinds are electrocution, gas chamber, lethal injection, hanging and finally fire squad.

Pros of Death Penalty:

1- Getting Rid of Dangerous Criminals:

One of the main pros of death penalty is that it forms as a negative result for murder crimes. Truly, death penalty contributes in creating a last result for killers and convicts who never have the ability to be kept in jail or face a trial based on the law. Despite the fact that staying in prison for a life time is regarded as capital crimes, criminals could pursue or increment their aggressive and violent behaviors inside prison cells. 

Furthermore, another pros for death penalty is to prevent the crime to happen again as the penalty forms as a punishment for every person who thinks to repeat the crime or react as the criminal. In spite of the fact that he could never be released temporarily or permanently when he is forced to remain in jail, he or she still has the opportunity to commit crimes by killing their guards or mates in cells as they don’t have anything to lose. Another thing that could happen is that the criminal could escape from prison. 

What’s more, death penalties guarantee that those criminals and murderers won’t be able to commit crimes or kill others in the future. That’s why death penalty is considered as pros for the judicial system in order to make sure that more crimes inside prison cells won’t happen and to protect prisoners from their mates. 

Besides, death penalty contains important considerations and thoughts before the trial or sending the criminal to be killed. In other words, committers of capital crimes have to be crazy and must have planned in order to do their crime. With taking in consideration all these planning and other elements, criminals are supposed to have enough time and good mind to think about death penalties before committing their crime and killing their victims.

2- Preventing Capital Crimes:

The second pros of death penalty is that death penalties are regarded as techniques and methods used by the law to prevent capital crimes from occurring. Based on historical events, communities and societies used to apply some of methods of important punishment in order to encourage people to not commit such crimes. Therefore, with the increase of awareness to stop murder crimes from happening, we all understand and perceive well that the government and the law have to put and apply the most powerful punishment ever existed in order to cease capital crimes which are the death penalties. This means that possible killers would think a lot before doing their crimes and stealing others’ lives because they are so scared to lose theirs. 

In an analysis done by Isaac Ehrlich in 1973, the results showed that when one prisoner is killed, the lives of seven persons are rescued because others were afraid of death penalties. Therefore, countries which don’t apply the system of death penalties could have high rates of crimes. On the other side, putting an end to crimes is considered as powerful and effective as what the laws pass in order to punish murderers. 

Actually, capital punishment is regarded as a good result for people who take decisions to kill others since it would definitely end in losing their own loves and being put in the same situation of their victims. According to one of professors of Jurisprudence at Fordham University named Ernest van den Haag, capital punishment could prevent other methods and ways of punishment because people are too afraid to die and since that, they wouldn’t commit crimes to protect their lives. Besides, death penalties show a method to solve the subject of ceasing crimes and then increase the idea that the next generation would grow up in a country free of crimes and violent actions.

Cons of Death Penalty:

1- Seen as Immoral:

On the contrary, death penalties have a lot of cons and one of these basic defects is that people who are against them would be seen as immoral. Truly, a large number of objectors on death penalties think that society must change its way of thinking of revenge and finds new ways to prevent crimes if it wants to accomplish progress and achieve civilization. According to their opinions and points of view, killing people because they killed others is definitely mistaken and shows immorality. 

What’s more, objectors believe that those techniques and methods don’t bring any outcome rather than more violence and aggressive behaviors and actions. In other words, executing the person who committed the crime would be useless because it won’t undo the crime that occurred or happened. Despite the fact that capital punishment could make victims’ family feel better, law is at their service and everyone should be punished for what he committed, it eventually doesn’t do anything to prevent the crime from happening or delete its occurrence. In spite of the fact that death penalty brings some peace to families, the crime would still leave an impact in them as it won’t bring them the dead person. Therefore, a lot of people think that it is very essential to attract the attention of the world and countries that killing others and use revenge as a method to solve crimes would never make things better but worse. 

Another cons of death penalty is that it costs a lot. Many people don’t know that applying death penalty costs between two and five more times than putting the same criminal in jail for the rest of his life. These costs could include investigation and getting evidences costs, fees and charges of attorneys, security costs and the large number of trials needed to reveal the truth and prove that the prisoner is guilty.

2- Not Receiving a Fair Legal Representation:

The second cons of death penalty according to its objectors that criminals and condemned prisoners don’t receive or get fair legal representation. According to one of the reports issued by the American Civil Liberties Union, the majority of criminals who encounter and are judged by capital punishment don’t have the ability to appoint a lawyer and pay for his fees. 

Therefore, they depend on the public defender who is assigned by the state in order to represent them in court and in front of judges. Truthfully, lawyers who are appointed by the state for criminals who are judged of capital punishment don’t have enough experience in defense, don’t have enough resources, work a lot and don’t get enough money for their job. They also are not experienced in the cases assigned for them by the court. 

According to one of the articles released by Dallas Morning News named Quality of Justice, one out of four cases between four hundred and sixty one capital cases showed that lawyers who represent criminals as defenders in the capital cases were punished for doing illegal and inappropriate actions during their career and professional life. 

Based on another article called Charlotte Observer, almost sixteen prisoners condemned to death penalties from between three were hanged, were defended by attorneys who were disbarred and judged for doing actions against ethics and manners. Other studies stated the same issue in other different states including Washington, Texas and Illinois in which criminals were represented by attorneys that didn’t have enough experience which leads to the question whether those criminals had a fair trial or not. This shows the objectors’ opinion regarding death penalties.

3- Plea Bargains:

Another cons of death penalty is that it could result in the increment of getting defendants accept plea bargaining as some criminals are innocent but afraid to continue trials in order to show other and the whole world their innocence. 

A study done by Sherod Thaxton from the Chicago University Law School in a journal called Criminal Law and Criminology, showed the influence of death sentence on plea bargains. According to analysis and statistics done about information of sentences and condemnation for Georgia State between ninety three and two thousand, two between ten defendants were prevented from continuing the trial. As a result, Sherod concluded from these studies and articles that death penalty has an influence on the possibility of defendants to accept and agree on plea deals. 

Truly, the ability to use the federal money which could be considered as a sort of compensation for the prisoners’ work in prison cells, to be used for the restitution of victims is regarded as one of the cons and defects of death penalty. Despite the fact that the victim could die, his family could have to bear losses in money. Actually, Proposition number thirty four in California bans and prevents death penalty. It also mentioned that it has the ability to change one hundred million American dollars through four years towards compensation of victims and funding of law enforcement in addition to saving wasted money of people who pay taxes and charges. Furthermore, after the first term which was consisted of four years to prevent and ban the application of death penalty, Proposition thirty four had the ability to change more than one hundred million dollars each year.

4- Cruelty and Toughness:

Many people believe that death penalty breaks the rules of “cruel and unusual” clause mentioned in the Bill of Rights. They think that death penalty is a severe punishment for criminals. Actually, the eighth American amendment in the Constitution bans and ceases the usage of the unusual and cruel methods as well as techniques of punishment. 

It is very inhumane and violent to execute criminals in front of other people whether this execution is applied through electrocution, gas chamber, lethal injection, fire squad or hanging. In fact, a lot of objectors think that execution is really violent and terrible way of punishment as well as being against American ethics, morals, belief and values because it breaks the rules of clause of banning cruel and unusual means of punishment. 

Another thing with death penalties is that the defendant could ask for appeal of death penalty during the trial and that could lead to the extension of the period of the criminal who could be the next to be executed. That’s why the American system in courts face a lot of troubles and barriers with these processes and operations in addition to getting involved in large numbers of consideration and thoughts before taking the decision to execute the prisoner. In reality, this involves all the kinds of appeals, movements, hearing and other elements that could take a lot of time from the period of the trial, judges, staff, lawyers and rooms that form the structure of the court system. Therefore, the increasing cost of appeals in death penalties has consequences in incrementing essential costs that come from money of people who pay taxes to the government.

5- The Possibility of Executing Innocent People:

The last cons of death penalty which is considered one of the worst defects is that innocent people could get executed for wrong reasons. According to scientists, tests in the future could have the ability to prove whether this prisoner is innocent or guilty. Between the American states, more than one hundred and thirty prisoners were set free and rescued from death penalties while others asked for appeals that were regarded as obstacles for the court. In other documented cases, tests and results in which Deoxyribonucleic Acid was used showed that innocent people faced death penalties and were executed for wrong reasons. 

In spite of the fact that a lot of people could throw the blame on the court system and not the death penalty, this still causes to end the life of innocent people that can’t be deleted once it is done and finished. On the other hand, remaining in prison for the rest of life is one of the main cons of death penalty as the criminal suffers a lot and this could last for years till his natural death. In other words, prisoners who remain in jail would keep thinking about what they had done and its memories would haunt them. For them, death is very simple because it wouldn’t give them the chance to feel guilty.


To sum up, death penalty has a lot of pros and cons . While it decreases the number of crimes because of people’s fear to die, it is a violent and aggressive method of punishment. Whether you are with or against it, you definitely approve that crimes are a terrible thing and criminals have to be punished for what they did.

Debate about Death Penalty

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