The legal execution of hardened criminals is known as capital punishment. The study’s subject is a reprieve from the death penalty for prisoners. The paper reflects on how the death penalty for convicted criminals violates the same civil rights that the constitution seeks to uphold, particularly in the United States. Thus, the article suggests a thesis proving that convicted prisoners awaiting the death penalty should be given a reprieve. The research will depend much on the previous cases where capital punishments have been practiced and analysis of the cases to find out if the judgments were fair and consistent with the law. Study of the historical events from colonial times of how capital punishment has evolved in the United States will also come in handy in the research.
History of the problem
Capital punishment can be described as the planned termination of an individual’s life by law enforcement instruments as a result of the severity of the individual’s crime. It is estimated that since the colonial era, about 13000 people have been executed by the government of the United States. The execution has been done by various methods including hanging, lethal injection, electrocution, firing squads and gas chambers. Ted Bundy was killed in an electric chair in 1989, in Florida; he confessed to 28 murders at the time of his death. However, the public has always been divided with regard whether the penalty should continue.
Overview of the issue
Capital punishment should be abolished, and convicted felons who are sentenced to be executed should be granted a reprieve. This is because the law has accorded every individual with the right to live which is the most fundamental right that humans possess. Going against the provision by legally allowing the execution of some does not only break the most sacred law provided by nature but also makes the government guilty of double standards. The criminal should be given lifetime imprisonment instead of a sentence to death, human rights activists have been confused, not knowing whether to protect the criminals or the offended especially in cases of murder. According to Amnesty International, capital punishment does not reduce the occurrence of brutal crime but rather encourages it (Amnesty International 28). There are currently 104 countries globally who have abolished the act (Schabas 34). Capital crimes have been misused in some countries to target and execute specific individuals by corrupt regimes (Beckett and Sasson 85). The most common methods of performing the punishment are electrocution, beheading, and lethal injection, hanging and facing a firing squad (Dieter 789).
Importance of Topic
The topic is crucial since it sheds light on the violation of the most sacred principle of nature by the very same systems that we expect to uphold the principle. The topic calls for discussion since it raises the question of the integrity of our governments and Constitution since they reflect who we are as a people. It is moreover important since it is a call to action for individuals to decide what values they want to be reflected in their law.
The proposed report seeks to target the general public and lawmakers since people in the increasingly democratic world have the power to stand up against this vice through activism and advocacy. However, due to the sensitive nature of the topic and the statistics following it, children are excluded from the target audience.
There are several arguments in opposition to the proposed thesis. For example, some people assert that criminals engage in capital crimes in free will and therefore, setting up death penalties can reduce crime rates by discouraging criminal behavior. However, some researchers have rebutted the argument claiming that crime is a risky activity and thereby criminals are not afraid of dying.
Not only does the research focus on the cruelty of the punishment but also other implications such as costs to the relatives of the criminals and protect human rights. To achieve the objectives of the research, there will be a need to convince the lawmakers to abolish capital punishment.
There are however several problems that may arise during the research for the proposed thesis. Prime among them is the difficulty in finding sources that will provide objective rationales for the annulment of the capital punishment since most previous research conducted on the issue consists of subjective emotionally-charged arguments. The other challenge lies in the fact that acquisition of primary data will be inhibited since access prisoners on death row for interviews is made impossible by the government.
Amnesty International. Death Sentences and Executions in 2016. London, Amnesty International, 2017.
This report provides facts and figures regarding the number of people who were reportedly executed in the entire world in 2016 and arranged them in descending order with respect to their nationality. The source of information is credible since the organization has been fighting injustice on international levels since 1961 in conjunction with governments. The report is relevant to the research since it provides statistics that show the prevalence of the problem. This will help in the historical analysis by reviewing the executions and making necessary conclusions on the findings.
Beckett, Katherine, and Theodore Sasson. The politics of injustice: Crime and punishment in America. Sage Publications, 2003.
The above book exposes how oppressive governments all over the world have used capital punishment as a scapegoat for political assassinations and the specific targeting of particular elements of individuals for execution. The source’s credibility lies in the fact that Mrs. Katherine Beckett teaches law at the University of Washington and is, therefore, an authority on international law. The book is relevant to this research since it shows how ineffective executions are, even in the hands of governments. It will help in justifying why the punishment should be abolished.
Dieter, Richard C. “Methods of execution and their effect on the use of the death penalty in the United States.” Fordham Urb. LJ 35 (2008).
The above journal discusses the different methods that governments have used in the past to implement capital punishment. It also gives a commentary on the real effectiveness of the process and an estimated amount of suffering that each method causes in its victim. Richard Dieter is a credible authority on the issues the article discusses since he directs the Death Penalty Information Center in the US. The article is relevant to the proposed research since it presents the many inhumane ways that governments used to end the lives of citizens and will show how they abuse human rights. By enlightening these cruel ways of execution, it will boost the advocacy towards doing away with capital punishment
Schabas, William A. “The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law.” (1999).
The above book presents information on how governments all over the world have complied to or gone against the international directive on death penalties. The book further discusses how countries have reacted to the abolition. Mr. Scabas is world renowned for contributions in academia to international law thereby making him a credible source. This book relates to the proposed thesis in the sense that it provides information that shows a positive trend in the abolition of this vice. It will help to back up the arguments in the research supporting abolishment of the punishment.