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The Death Penalty: Is It Morally Correct?

By:   •  June 23, 2012  •  Case Study  •  836 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,104 Views

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The Death Penalty: Is it morally correct?

Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the execution of a criminal by the government for the conviction of certain crimes. These crimes are referred to as capital crimes and include crimes such as murder, rape and drug trafficking. Capital punishment has been a form of punishment for ages. The death penalty is a widely controversial issue in the United States and other countries. Supporters of the death penalty feel it is a necessary act to for those who have committed heinous crimes, however the non supporters feel that it is an immoral act that directly goes against all values of humanity.

One of the major points that supporters make is that this is the only way to deter crime and to ensure that these murderers, rapists, etc. will never commit an act of violence again. "Viewed from the functionalist perspective of Emile Durkheim, sanctions against deviant acts help to reinforce society's standards of proper behavior" (Schaefer, 2009, p. 176). Our society as a whole needs as much help as it can get deterring crime and convincing individuals to conform to appropriate behavior. No, we will never have a crime free world and there will always be those individuals that choose to commit these acts of violence, but as a society we need a punishment as severe as the act that has been committed for people to understand that when they make this choice they are also choosing life or death for themselves. Schaeffer (2009) also states that many people do not openly support the death penalty but when they are in a situation where a crime that has been committed affects them personally, they then feel as if it should be available to them (p. 177). I feel that this is probably a very common response from most people, they may not support the act but if faced with a capital crime themselves, they want the death penalty to be an option in that sentencing.

The United States is only one of the less that 50 percent of countries worldwide that allow the death penalty. In the United States, 36 of the 50 states, military affiliations and the federal government are all allowed to carry-out the death penalty as long as they follow strict federal guidelines. These guidelines are set in place to help uphold constitutional rights in all cases. The death penalty is still very prevalent in many countries such as Asia and Middle Eastern countries.

My view is that capital punishment is the only way to truly get justice for certain criminal acts, sometimes life in prison is just not enough. Don Feder, a columnist for The Boston Herald, stated in an article over Timothy McVeigh, " Executing a murderer is the only way to adequately express our horror at the taking of innocent life. Nothing else suffices…A murderer sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole can still, laugh, learn and love" and they have taken these opportunities away from their victims

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