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Sould the Death Penalty be Abolished? Essay


Criminal justice systems have faced criticisms regarding the implementation of the death penalty. Even though they try to ensure that this process is conducted in a humane way, it has still not gained acceptance by many people and organizations (Bedau 2011). In addition, states are now becoming cautious in administering this punishment. This essay explores the various controversies and reasons that support or oppose the abolishment of this penalty.


Death penalty refers to the termination of criminals’ lives after facing criminal charges to prove that they committed capital offenses (Goodheart 2011). Many nations had adopted this policy but they are now reconsidering to abolish it because of the controversies surrounding its application.

Reasons for the Abolishment of this Sentence

The prevalence of criminal activities necessitated the need to establish strict laws that will ensure the culprits are given appropriate sentences. However, it has now come to the attention of most states that this penalty is not an effective way of punishing capital offenders because of the following reasons.

First, it denies prisoners their right to life, yet constitutions all over the world state that people have an express right to life and no one is allowed to take away another person’s life (Bergman 2011). This sentence ignores this constitutional requirement and offers the state an ability to kill criminals. In addition, religious teachings insist that no human being has a right to deny another person the right to life.

It is only God who created people and has the right to decide when they should die. Criminals have a right for life just like other people no matter the degree of the crime committed (Albenese 2012). Therefore, this sentence must be abolished since it contravenes constitutional and religious declarations.

Secondly, all suspects are presumed to be innocent until the court proves otherwise using the evidence presented before it. However, sometimes, defense lawyers fail to present sufficient evidence to prove their clients are innocent. On the other hand, the petitioners present evidence that links the suspect with the alleged criminal activities (Goodheart 2011).

However, no matter the turn of events, sometimes, court rulings are reversed long after the concerned suspects have served long terms in jail. This occurs when there is a new evidence to prove that the suspect never committed the crime or there was no adequate evidence to subject the criminal to corporal punishment. However, death penalties do not give courts opportunities to reverse their rulings since the suspects are usually already dead.

Thirdly, there are other alternatives that may be used to punish capital offenders. The most common and ethical long term punishment for a criminal is life imprisonment (Albenese 2012). This is a decent punishment compared to the death sentence.

This punishment should be abolished because it denies family members their right to associate and interact with their people even though they are criminals. It is necessary to state that human beings have strong bonds that are only broken by death (Roth 2010).

However, when prisoners are killed by means of the death sentences, this act denies them and their family members their right to interact with one another. Therefore, this penalty should be abolished since it leaves family members with painful memories.

Lastly, this sentence has finality issues that cannot be reversed. Once an individual is condemned to death, he or she feels that the society has discriminated against the individual and it does not recognize their value. In addition, once an individual is killed, there is no way the person can be brought back to life (Bergman 2011).

This sentence assumes that there are sufficient reasons to kill a criminal and that there is no possibility that the case can be readdressed. Therefore, it should be abolished and replaced with ones that can be reversed in case there is the need to evaluate the evidence presented at the first place (Albenese 2012).

Reasons for the Appropriateness of the Death Sentence

Proponents of this sentence argue that this is the most suitable way of punishing capital offenders and deterring others from committing similar crimes. People are always cautious about their lives and will try to avoid anything that may lead to injuries or death (Bedau 2011). Therefore, when criminals realize that they may face death penalties in case they are caught, they will try to avoid committing capital crimes or even stop their criminal activities.

Secondly, nations are spending a lot of money on financing various correctional facilities. Life imprisonment means these states must prepare long term budgets to cater for these criminals (Albenese 2012).

However, death sentences ensure these criminals not to spend additional and unnecessary money in their upkeep. The opponents argue that there is no need to spend a lot of money in supporting a convicted criminal, but instead they should be killed to save this money for other purposes (Roth 2010).

Lastly, this penalty should not be abolished since it reflects the magnitude of the crime committed. Justice requires that individuals get proportional punishment for their crimes and thus this penalty is an adequate punishment for capital offenders.


This sentence is an abuse of human rights and does not give the victim a reprieve for the crime committed. This sentence perpetuates human suffering and ignores the need to rehabilitate criminals. Therefore, it should be abolished and replaced with appropriate sentences.


Albenese, J. S. (2012). Criminal Justice. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Bedau, H. A. (2011). The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bergman, P. (2011). The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System. California: Nolo Publishing.

Goodheart, L. B. (2011). The Solemn Sentence of Death: Capital Punishment in Connecticut. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press.

Roth, M. P. (2010). Crime and Punishment: A History of the Criminal Justice System. New York: Wadsworth Publishing.

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