Death Penalty, Its Acceptability and Issues


Capital punishment has always been a debatable issue among people all over the world since the day when it was first practiced in the oldest of civilizations to the present world today. Many lawmakers and legislatures all over the world continue to deliberate whether capital punishment is a justified form of punishment and if it should be encouraged. They continue to say that even though capital punishment may be morally required, it should not be a form of revenge but rather a tool to stop more murders and killings in the streets. (Cass & Adrian, 2005).

What makes the death penalty an issue?

Those who against the death penalty, say that there is a great chance that a person may be put into the death seat while being innocent. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, when justice relies on death penalty, it has already led to the cases when the innocent person was put to death before the case had been fully investigated (Hugo, 2010).

However, despite this fact, there are other issues that people have always overlooked under capital punishment, like the deterring or preventive effects of the punishment. (Cass & Adrian, 2005). These are some of the questions people need to ask themselves before they can totally approve capital punishment. How about people standing to the fact that if the person is executed, more deaths on the streets will be reduced, and also other people thinking of committing murders may refrain from doing so knowing that they can easily follow the same suit.

The concept behind the death penalty

It is often seen that when more offenders are put to death, it deters capital crimes more effectively than a life sentence. For example, in the minds of the ‘retributivists’ like Kant, death penalty is a deserved and proportional punishment for the crime of murder. (Hugo, 2010). In this sense, a life term sentence will not be enough for a man who murdered 10 innocent people. At this, a government will have to consider installing harsh punishments for murderers, like the death penalty, in order to prevent deaths of innocent people.

In most states, the death penalty has always been given to those who committed various offences since the ancient times to the present days. However, there is a great argument over the effects of the death penalty. Based on the argument that punishment is a legal way of allowing someone to go through some form of suffering, it can be said that it is a cruel act. However, when critically analyzed, capital punishment often has deterring or preventive effects. Indeed, some situations are not always acceptable, especially where murder could have not been prevented. Like, for example, a trespassing or the crime of passion, where a lover kills another lover. This cannot be discouraged as long as people still fall in love and jealousy and envy are parts of human nature. (Cass & Adrian, 2005).

Why the death penalty is acceptable

According to the history, human beings keep on doing things, using others and commit offences as long as it is to their own advantage. The basic reason why we have law enforcement is to make sure that innocent people are protected from such cruel actions. On this ground, I believe that punishment for offenders should be as harsh as the sufferings they caused to innocent people. This will also help deter other potential offenders from committing such acts thinking that they can get away with it.

My position on the death penalty according to (Cass R. Sustein & Adrian Vernuele)

Following the endless argument for the death penalty, I agree that the death penalty makes people afraid to commit grave crimes knowing that the punishment for it will be losing their lives. (Cass & Adrian, 2005).

In other cases life sentences can be called off depending on the convict’s behavior. Nowadays, most offenders know that there is always a room for amnesty depending on one’s conduct (Ernst & Joseph, 2010). Another disadvantage of a life sentence is that even if the judge denies the person parole; it will be costly to the country and its taxpayers.

Critique of the death penalty

Normally, death penalties are always carried in the cruellest manners, an execution is always seemed to violate or have no respect for human life. It teaches communities to resolve crimes to the cruellest ways. People see the act of Killing as being totally inhuman (Hugo, 2010)

Another critique is that of Cessare Beccaria who is of the idea that death penalty does not really prevent determined men from injuring the society.

For this reason, death sentences must always be executed in a thorough manner, having passed all the provisions required to be able to execute one for murder (Cessare, 2009). The death penalty is a better punishment so that other offenders to be afraid of committing crimes that may lead to the death punishment. As the law continues to provide more provisions for offenders, murderers continue to expose themselves with a lot of carelessness, brutality and inhuman actions. These need to be prevented by one simple way of a death sentence to such offences.

Due Process

Most people against the death penalty say that innocent lives stand at stake, but there is little evidence of an innocent life being executed in a death sentence. When we look at the judicial system, we find that there are many precautions which are followed before a man is executed. One must be arrested first and provided with a defence attorney. A clear paperwork must be done since the beginning of the case to show that all avenues to prove the man innocent were explored and that there was no other doubt he deserves the punishment of death.

He must be of clear state of mind, must undergo five to six week trial, a second one will follow to determine the penalty, then a full trial is held. Finally, after every legal attempt, which may take more than ten years, the person is then executed.


Death penalty as a capital punishment is the best way to deal with criminals, and especially with those who have no respect for the lives of the victims. What we forget to observe is that capital punishments actually does prevent the killing of many innocent lives.


Cass, R. &, Adrian V. (2005). Is Capital Punishment Morally Required: The relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs, East Street, Chicago, IL University of Chicago Law School Press.

Cessare, B. (2009). On crimes and Punishment. Philadelphia: Philip H.Nicklin.

Ernst, H. & Joseph, P. (2010). The Death Penalty: A Debate. Texas, Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Hugo, B. (2010). Debating the Capital Punishment, New York, NY: Cengage Learning.