The death penalty, or capital punishment, refers to punishment by death imparted to a person by a state or a legal framework. Because of the nature of the punishment, the death penalty raises a plethora of human-rights issues, which, consequently, has led to its abolishment in a majority of countries across the globe. However, despite the controversies surrounding it, it is still practiced in one form or another in about 58 countries.
The death penalty has been a staple form of punishment throughout human history and across societies, largely reserved for perpetrators of especially heinous crimes (the qualitative judgment of which varies from society to society). These crimes may be perpetrated against individuals (such as murder, rape, adultery, etc.) or against societies collectively (espionage, treason, heresy). Historical records indicate that the death penalty has been practiced in human societies stretching back to the earliest periods of recorded history as a punitive form of justice. The crimes that may be punished with the death penalty vary from society to society, in the past, as in the present.
The methods for carrying out the execution or death penalty have varied throughout history as well. The word ‘capital punishment’ itself is derived from the Latin word, capitalis (‘relating to the head’) since it was originally carried out through decapitation. Methods for carrying out capital punishment have ranged from boiling to death, flaying, disembowelment, impalement, stoning, shooting with a gun, dismemberment, etc. In recent history, methods for capital punishment have moved progressively towards the more human, particularly in the first world. In the few first world societies that still practice the death penalty, death by lethal injection is the execution method of choice, selected because of its quick, efficient, and pain-free nature.
The death penalty has been, for obvious reasons, a massive source of controversy in most countries across the world in the past few decades. Besides issues of human rights, questions of the ethical and even legal right of the state to impart punishment by death have been raised vociferously by advocates of the abolishment of the death penalty. Presently, the death penalty has been scrapped completely by 97 countries, while the 58 countries that actively practice it face overwhelming global pressure to abolish this punishment completely. With a progressive move towards more humane methods of punishment, it is only a matter of time before the death penalty is struck off completely from all law books.
Death Penalty Thesis Statement Examples:
* Humane treatment of criminals and the ensuing low crime rates in Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden has shown that reform rather than punitive punishment should be the driving force behind all convictions, making the death penalty a redundant throwback to a medieval form of justice.
* The death penalty should be reserved for the rarest of the rare cases.
* In some cases, where rehabilitation and reform aren’t possible, death penalty is a justifiable option.
* Since the state has no powers to give life, it cannot exercise its power to take human life either. The philosophical and ethical basis for the death penalty, thus, is fundamentally shaky.
* The complicated legal process and the high costs involved in the pre-trial and trial phase for the death penalty makes it an economically unsound method of punishment.
* Without a completely fool-proof justice system, the risk of putting innocent people to death via capital punishment cannot be ruled out. The death penalty, consequently, must be abolished.
* Penalty or punishment are measures falling in the realm of human error and human disciplining: Capital punishment puts out abruptly and brutally the flame out of the life of the human being himself; Discourse on why it should be abolished and the dignity of the human being restored and the right to life upheld.
* If the aim of legal punishment is prevention of crime, are there no other methods to prevent crime? Crimes are situational, impulsive, extreme acts and not so much personal acts committed with permanent destructive instinct: retribution and not extinction should be preferred.
* Imprisonment is as good as denial of main fruits of life: A prison is a unisex world where every inmate is stigmatized and has to carry on tightly scheduled activities in the company of strangers; the inmates are deprived of liberty, privileges, emotional security etc. Why capital punishment when life imprisonment can also cause pain and yet leave scope for reform and retribution.
* The danger with having the death penalty “on the books” is that it can be broadened if a government goes completely statist and politicians may use it for something other than murder… to settle political scores.