Capital Punishment Essay & Paragraph
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal system where a person is given maximum punishment by the state for his serious crime. The history of the death penalty is very ancient. There are different ways to execute it. Here is a Capital Punishment Essay in 850 words and a Capital Punishment Paragraph in 200 words which shed light on the historical background of Capital punishment, its forms, and arguments on whether capital punishment is right or wrong.
Capital Punishment Essay
Introduction: Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal punishment prevalent in many societies. Capital punishment is invariably awarded for severe types of offenses such as murder, treason, rape, arson, keeping narcotics, robbery, etc. The objective of the death penalty is to set an example of severe punishment for such heinous crimes or anti-state activities so that people refrain from committing such activities.
Historical Background: Capital punishment for crimes like murder, treason, arson, and rape was widely employed in ancient Greece under the laws of Draco (fl. 7th century BC). The Romans also used capital punishment for a wide range of crimes. This punishment has also been sanctioned by most of the world’s major religions. In Judaism and Christianity there is justification for capital punishment in the Old Testament passage “Whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6). Capital punishment has been prescribed for many other crimes including adultery and blasphemy. The ancient legal principle Lex talionis (talion)—“an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth, a life-for-a-life”— which appears in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, was also used in many societies to ensure that capital punishment was not disproportionately applied. The Qura’n prescribes the death penalty for several Radd (fixed) crimes— including robbery, adultery, murder, and apostasy of Islam. In the case of murder, the relatives of the victim decide whether the offender is punished with death by the authorities or made to pay diyah (wergild) as compensation.
Death was formerly the penalty for a large number of offenses in England during the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was never applied as widely as the law provided. As in other countries, many offenders who committed capital crimes escaped the death penalty, either because juries or courts would not convict them or because they were pardoned, usually on condition that they agreed to banishment; some were sentenced to the lesser punishment of transportation to the then American colonies and later to Australia. Beginning in the Middle Ages, it was possible for offenders guilty of capital offenses to receive the benefit of clergy, by which those who could prove that they were ordained priests (clerks in Holy Orders), as well as secular clerks who assisted in divine service (or, from 1547, a peer of the realm), were allowed to go (ree, though it remained within the judge’s power to sentence them to prison for up to a year, or from 1717 onward to transportation for seven years. Because during medieval times the only proof of ordination was literacy, it became customary between the 15th and 18th centuries to allow anyone convicted of a felony to escape the death sentence by proving that he (the privilege was extended to women in 1629) could read. Until 1705, all he had to do was read (or recite) the first verse from Psalm 51 of the Bible—“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions— which came to be known as the “neck verse” (for its power to save one’s neck). To ensure that an offender could escape death only once through the benefit of the clergy, he was branded on the brawn of the thumb (“M” for murder or “T” for theft). Branding was abolished in 1779, and the benefit of clergy ceased in 1827.
Forms of Capital Punishment: From ancient times until well into the 19th century, many societies administered exceptionally cruel forms of capital punishment. In Rome the condemned were hurled from the Tarpeian Rock; for parricide they were drowned in a sealed bag with a dog, cock, ape, and viper; and still others were executed by forced gladiatorial combat or by crucifixion. Executions in ancient China were carried out by many painful methods, such as sawing the condemned in half, flaying him while still alive, and boiling. Cruel forms of execution in Europe included “breaking” on the wheel, boiling in oil, burning at the stake, decapitation by the guillotine or an ax, hanging, drawing and quartering, and drowning. Although by the end of the 20th century many jurisdictions (e.g., nearly every U.S. state that employs the death penalty, Guatemala, the Philippines, Taiwan, and some Chinese provinces) had adopted lethal injection, offenders continued to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia and occasionally stoned to death (for adultery) in Iran and Sudan. Other methods of execution were electrocution, gassing, and the firing squad. Historically, executions were public events, attended by large crowds, and the mutilated bodies were often displayed until they rotted. Public executions were banned in England in 1868, though they continued to take place in parts of the United States until the 1930s. Since the mid- 1990s public executions have taken place in some 20 countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria, though the practice has been condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Committee as “incompatible with human dignity.”
Conclusion: It is a matter of debate whether capital punishment is right or wrong. But, there are certainly some positive aspects of capital punishment. It deters people to commit heinous crimes. In Bangladesh, capital punishment is prevalent f for certain types of crimes.
A Paragraph on the Arguments for Capital Punishment, 200 Words
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a controversial matter of the present time. It is a matter of debate whether capital punishment or the death penalty should be allowed in modern societies. Many countries have already withdrawn the death penalty from their legal systems. Still, the death penalty is considered an essential part of justice in many countries. There are some strong reasons in favor of capital punishment. First of all, there are some offenses that cross the border of forgiveness or endurance. Such crimes shake the basic foundation of our society and require the utmost punishment. Secondly, if heinous crimes like murder, rape, arson, and genocide are allowed in our society and we show mercy to the perpetrators of such crimes by sparing them from the death sentences, the wrongdoers will be encouraged to commit such crimes even more. Then crimes of those kinds will go out of control. Thirdly, forgiveness should only go to somebody who deserves it. Showing forgiveness to a person who does not have any respect for other people’s life or rights means encouraging a criminal and conniving in his action. At last, crime has a contagious pattern. In many cases, the magnitude of committing a crime only increases for somebody. Such criminals are not correctable in any way. The death sentence is the only option for them.