Justifications in The Use of Capital Punishment

Punishment is an act of ensuring that individuals suffer for engaging in activities that are against the law. Corporal punishment is the purposeful causing of pain through physical thrashing. It is usually meted out to people in order for them to behave in the right manner. Due to the pain caused by caning, it is assumed that the punishment will serve as a reminder to the individual on the consequences of doing wrong. Most of the beatings applied in public were meant to serve as a warning to the rest in order to ensure that the rules and regulations were followed strictly. It can be administered in educational institutions, judicial institutions as well as in family settings.

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Corporal punishment is still being used in many countries today for disciplining children. However, it has been prohibited in several countries such as China. On the other hand, Capital punishment is the punishment through meting out death to the offender. In the criminal justice systems of many countries, it is lawful to inflict death to the offender, depending on the weight of the crime. It was mostly used in the ancient times, although many countries still use capital punishment (Charlie Steven 2007).

Capital punishment has progressively been reserved by many countries. However, it is still being practiced in countries such as the United States, Singapore and Japan. These are some of the developed countries that are still using death penalty as a form of punishment. Most of the authoritarian governments are known to use the death penalty in order for them to intimidate the opposition from expressing their views. It was actually used as an oppression tool towards those opposed to a regime. However, it has continuously been used to eliminate those who totally do not observe the rules and regulations of a society. They are usually the most terrible criminals in the society.

Those who are for capital punishment normally feel safer with elimination of the criminals. They justify their argument in that once dead, the criminals can not commit more crimes against fellow human beings. Most of them have had experience with assumed reformed criminals, who after serving a jail term get back to crime and can even turn out to be on revenge missions. The common rehabilitation measures are actually not real punishment compared to death penalty. The offender suffers real pain according to the intensity of the crime. In the ancient times, people viewed death penalty as a way of avenging for crimes committed against human beings (Fang Zao 2005).

Reasons why capital punishment should be abolished

Capital punishment does not deter crime where it does not take time to plan it. This is because for a crime that does not take some time for the criminal to plan the offence, considerations about the consequences of committing it are usually absent. It is therefore not likely to prevent such a person from engaging in crime. The criminal will most probably act upon the prevailing circumstances. Crimes such as murder committed under such situations should not be subjected to capital punishment if it is meant to prevent people from committing such crimes. Lack of certainty that an individual is actually the one who committed a crime is usually a problem in many criminal justice systems.

More often than not, people are punished because of crimes that they never committed. A good example is the case of many death row suspects who have been freed after the realization of their innocence. This means that many innocent people have been executed because they can not proof their innocence. The irreversibility of punishment through death becomes very painful especially if it turns out to have been meted out on a person due to improper criminal justice systems. At times a person may be executed by mistake, which becomes problematic when the real offenders are known.

It usually turns out to be unbelievable for friends and family members when they realize that one of their own is on a death row. It causes much stress and pain before and after execution. Coming to terms with the reality is not easy, especially if the convict is a parent or a loved one. Reports of people who have died of stress because of their loved ones being sentenced to death are many (Ronald Feldman 2001). These people are normally subjected to suffering unnecessarily. The worst of all is the realization that the convict will be dead at a certain time. This is because the natural deaths of humans are very unpredictable, and even in periods of sickness or other disasters, it is usually difficult to tell if an individual will survive.

The feelings of desertion, fear and regret cause a lot of trauma and can have dire consequences on those who are left. In a religious point of view, it is apparent that doing something wrong to counter a crime does not actually yield desirable results. Suffering of the individual’s relatives and friends is unwarranted. If the convict is the bread winner for a family, a death penalty usually causes poverty and increased dependence on other people for the needs of the family. It would be better to allow a person to reform and provide for the family, thereby minimizing the pressure on the government and the society as a whole in catering for the needs of the family.

Human beings are unique in the sense that all of them react towards emotions. Criminals are no exception. They too have emotions of fear, rejection as well as pain. It is not justifiable for any human being to take the life of another. Most of the religions preach against it, although some justify the use of capital punishment. Beheading, stoning and cutting of limbs are common in many Muslim communities. The justification is that once limbs have been cut or execution has been done to an individual, it incapacitates the person, preventing him from committing the crime once more. Regardless of the extent of the crime, it is usually not prudent to behead fellow human beings. Many religions teach that people should do to others what they too would like to be done to them (Geoffrey Morgan 2004). In reality, those people who stone, behead or cut the limbs of others would not like to face the same even if they committed crimes of an equal magnitude.

The psychological torture that a prisoner undergoes before the real execution takes place is usually enough punishment to make him reform. It is normal for a human being to suffer mentally due to the thought of dying at a particular time especially if the method of putting him to death is known. The imagination of the pain that will be inflicted on the convict is real mental torture. Beheading, stoning and cutting of limbs as well as other forms of capital punishment should be reconsidered due to the pain that they cause to humanity. When a society becomes used to executing their own members, there happens to be a tendency of loosing the moral values that make up a community. People who witness the painful execution of others time and again do not find it hard to repeat the same acts. A society composed of merciless individuals can easily end up losing direction.

The abolishment of the brutal executions does not however give way for the methods that are regarded as less painful ways of executing criminals. Any action that takes the life of another should be avoided as much as possible. This is because capital punishment causes suffering to humanity in general. Public hanging is one of the methods that have been used to execute people who have been sentenced to death by many criminal justice systems. They usually have a negative impact on the society taking in to consideration that the observers are usually people of all ages. The executions happen in the view of children who rarely understand what it means to be sentenced to death. It is very hard for them to forget such executions through out their lives. It is an apparent denial of their right not to be exposed to such actions that are meted out on people by their fellow human beings. More over, capital punishment takes away the life of a person and it does not allow a chance for him to reform and become a productive member of the society.

Public execution or cutting of limbs is an awful exercise especially when the victim cries for mercy. However heinous a crime is, human beings should reconsider their decision of punishing the offender with equally heinous actions. The person who beheads another becomes a killer, due to the fact that he or she has taken the life of another willingly. The person being executed is usually helpless because he is under arrest. It would not be wrong to view such execution as cold blood murder (Geoffrey Morgan 2004).


There are many ways through which a criminal can be punished. The better ways of punishment ensure that an individual reforms and becomes productive to the society. The convicts can be given a life sentence and while serving it, they can work for the public and assist the government to reduce the cost of labor. This ensures that the prisoner is punished while being productive to the society. Terminating the prisoner’s life is not the best option since it is very expensive to take up his roles in the society. It is also unnecessary in the sense that it does not give an individual the chance to reform and rejoin the society. Capital punishment should be abolished because it has many negative impacts on the society as a whole.



  1. Charlie S. (2007) the Rise of Criminal Justice Systems: an Overview of Development, 2nd edition, London:     Century Business.
  2. Fang Z. (2005) “Criminal Justice” International Journal of Criminal Behavior & Research. Vol. 11 No. 1, July, pp. 25-41
  3. Feldman R. (2001) Modern Societies: Building Blocks of World Communities, Rockhampton: CQU Press.
  4. Geoffrey M. (2004) “Capital Punishment: Reality Revealed,” International Crimes Journal, vol. 3, no. 2, August, p. 47



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