Do you think the death penalty is ever justified?
By Mr O.
November 5, 2006 9:09am CST
If you do, please give your argument for it. Some of my arguments against it are that: a) It is not proven to be an effective deterrent: (Quoted from Amnesty International) 7. The deterrence argument Scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002, concluded: ". . .it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment." (Reference: Roger Hood, The Death Penalty: A World-wide Perspective, Oxford, Clarendon Press, third edition, 2002, p. 230) 8. Effect of abolition on crime rates Reviewing the evidence on the relation between changes in the use of the death penalty and homicide rates, a study conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002 stated: "The fact that the statistics continue to point in the same direction is persuasive evidence that countries need not fear sudden and serious changes in the curve of crime if they reduce their reliance upon the death penalty". Recent crime figures from abolitionist countries fail to show that abolition has harmful effects. In Canada, for example, the homicide rate per 100,000 population fell from a peak of 3.09 in 1975, the year before the abolition of the death penalty for murder, to 2.41 in 1980, and since then it has declined further. In 2003, 27 years after abolition, the homicide rate was 1.73 per 100,000 population, 44 per cent lower than in 1975 and the lowest rate in three decades. (Reference: Roger Hood, The Death Penalty: A World-wide Perspective, Oxford, Clarendon Press, third edition, 2002, p. 214) (Source: http://web.amnesty.org/pages/deathpenalty-facts-eng ) b) It is not a humane response to crime. Crime is often a product of a disaffection with society and is therefore a result of society's inability to deal with the root cause of the crime. It is illogical and immoral to punish people so irrevocably for their lack of education by that society. c) In the case of a punishment for murder, it is simply a legal endorsement of the ethos that to kill a human is a valid solution to a problem, so tends to perpetuate that ethos rather than educate against it. d) In the case of a crime of terrorism or due to mental instability, it could be less of a deterrent than lifelong imprisonment. e) If the country or society that endorses the death penalty purports to be primarily Christian, can it possibly be justifiable under any circumstances by Christian principles?
5 people like this
• Cambridge, England
7 Nov 06
I would value your comments very much, even if only to show what your dilemma is. As a Catholic (and a Franciscan), would you not ask the Church for guidance? I would like to know what your colleagues think is the general position of the Church on this question and I would also like to hear why, if at all, you feel you might disagree. In a discussion like this, reasons why one can't express an opinion are just as helpful and valid as opinions. However, I do understand if your conscience says that it is better to be quiet.
7 Nov 06
During his 23-year reign of terror, Hussein (pictured at left in 1983) was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. For his first trial, he's accused of ordering the massacre of more than 140 Iraqis in the village of Dujail -- a small footnote in a career of brutality. now, u think whether it is justified or not?