For many years, the issue of capital punishment has caused heated debates among the society and officials. Moreover, the media, policymakers, scholars, and ordinary citizens seek to resolve this problem once and for all to avoid any misunderstandings. The USA continues to practice the death penalty despite the severe criticism from humanists and moralists. The execution cannot leave one indifferent as the modern democratic society highly values morality, legislation, and ethics. Capital punishment has caused fierce debate; its opponents are concerned with the judicial errors and violation of fundamental human rights. However, this challenge still causes pressure due to controversies between critics and proponents of capital punishment, and, therefore, requires urgent resolution taking into consideration all viewpoints. The current paper seeks to examine the issue of the death sentence that should not be allowed due to the fact that it is immoral, irrevocable, and expensive for the country.
The critics of capital punishment provide weighty arguments concerning the abolition of execution. They think that the death of an offender does not decrease the crime rate; the opponents point out to the life cessation as the best way to punish a felon. The humanists also refer to the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and worry about the likelihood of executing an innocent man (Bakken, 2010). According to the opponents, the death sentence is the severe, expensive, irrevocable, and immoral act. Therefore, it is crucial to take into account adequate precautions to ensure that no guiltless individual is accused, jailed, and sentenced to death. Novak (2014) highlights a wrong execution as the main reason for abolishing the capital punishment. The statistical data often affect people’s views and make them believe in the expensiveness of death penalty and court cases related to the execution. The humanists call to abolish capital punishment due to its irrevocability. Once the decision is made, it is impossible to repeal it. The worsening of the crime-related situation in the country results in corruption among law enforcement officials and judiciary. In this light, the likelihood that the court will make errors with sentences or punishments is extremely high. Moreover, the legal system has to protect fundamental rights of every person accused despite the outcome.
Supporters of Death Penalty
The supporters of abolition defend morality in the U.S. democratic society; heated debates and controversies prove that. Tatalovich, Daynes, and Lowi (2015) encourage officials to release criminals, who have been sentenced to death immediately. The authors cite security, morality, and humanism as their main arguments. Officials bear the responsibility to safeguard fundamental rights and safety. Opponents of the death penalty also criticize this type of punishment due to discrimination as judges and prosecutors sometimes act biased in relation to the culprits. Low status, race, illiteracy, and malevolence of the defendants lead to the court’s prejudice and subjectivism. The negative features of accused individuals influence the final decision, and, therefore, many people get sentenced mistakenly. Individuals, who severely criticize capital punishment, suppose that officials, judges, and prosecutors value lives of white defendants more than lives of black culprits. However, the court often convinces the public that their decisions do not depend on the criminals’ race, social status, and origin. The judicial authorities cite the nature of criminal act as the main factor that affects their decision.
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The core of disputes and debates is to defend morality, ethics, and justice. The Catholic Church, global community and human rights organizations condemn the USA for such a terrible punishment. Europeans banned the death penalty twelve years ago, and humanists urge Americans not to hesitate and take the appropriate decision immediately. The authorities of some states have to choose a more humane method of killing than a traditional electric chair and the gas chamber. The global community and American society hope that the judicial system can replace capital punishment with another adequate penalty. It will help to avoid bias and prejudice while considering criminal cases. Moreover, the USA as the civilized and democratic country has to abolish the death sentence due to its expensiveness. Funds spent on the execution may be directed to the implementation of other vital social programs. The influential French politician Maximilien Robespierre claims, “Views and judgments of human beings should not lead to the murder of a culprit even if he/she is wrong” (Sandel, 2009). The philosopher adds that individuals can get a chance to atone and move forward. It is unfair when people judge each other and decide whether a person should die or live. The economist and philosopher John Mill also discussed the issue of execution. He criticized the death sentence considering it “an invalid method of punishment that may negatively affect innocent people” (Risinger, 2007). Due to the irrevocable nature, the execution, even if it is wrong, cannot be repealed, and no one will be able to fix an error and radical change the situation (Penzell, 2007). Nowadays, the judges and prosecutors are well-known for making errors in the final decision. Therefore, it is unreasonable for the court to sentence a person to death with the least doubt of his/her guilt.
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The paper has deeply examined the viewpoints of those individuals, which severely condemn the capital punishment due to its costliness, irrevocability, and immorality. In addition to the fact that this method of punishment is cruel, evil, and inhumane, it does not prevent criminal acts. No one has ever managed to create a justice system that will work without errors. It means that innocent men suffer from the cruel decision made by judges and prosecutors. Moreover, the long years of expectations exacerbate the execution period as the inmates sentenced to death live in the solitary cells and do not communicate with other prisoners. The humanists regard this term as a sufficient punishment. Critics also point out to the fact that death penalty increases the crime rate and violates moral norms. Debates over the abolition of capital punishment continue. As one of the most controversial challenges, the issue creates pressure in the society. Therefore, it requires adequate resolution by taking into consideration viewpoints of all concerned individuals.