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  • Prachi jain

Capital Punishment

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

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capital punishment

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a highly debated and controversial practice in which a person is legally sentenced to death as punishment for a serious crime, usually involving murder. It has been practiced by societies throughout history, with varying methods and justifications. The primary objective of capital punishment is often seen as retribution, seeking to provide justice to the victims and their families by imposing a punishment that is perceived as proportional to the severity of the crime committed. Advocates argue that it acts as a deterrent, preventing potential offenders from committing heinous acts due to fear of facing the ultimate penalty.

People are divided into two types one who supports capital punishment and one who is against it. My vote will go to the ones who are opposing it but not just because I think that no person should be given the death penalty as a punishment because it is grievous but because I also think to let someone die for the crimes is, in fact, a punishment that will end in seconds and its not fair to the deceased or the victims.

Proponents of capital punishment believe that certain crimes are so grievous that they warrant the ultimate punishment and the ultimate punishment is not death but to leave the person in a world full of darkness where he/she will not have any facilities or privileges. The argument that it upholds the concept of "an eye for an eye" is not really true because giving the death penalty to a person will never compensate for the loss suffered by the victim and their family.

One of the main justifications for capital punishment is its supposed deterrent effect on potential criminals. Proponents argue that the fear of death will prevent individuals from committing heinous crimes. However, numerous studies and statistical analyses have failed to establish a clear correlation between the death penalty and reduced crime rates. The threat of capital punishment alone does not address the underlying causes of criminal behavior or prevent crimes from occurring. Societal factors, education, and access to opportunities play a more significant role in crime prevention.

Another fundamental flaw of capital punishment is the risk of executing innocent individuals. Despite the justice system's best efforts, human error is an inherent possibility in any judicial process. There have been numerous cases where innocent individuals have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, only to be exonerated years later due to new evidence, advancements in forensic science, or the dedication of advocates. The irreversible nature of capital punishment means that any mistakes made cannot be rectified. The possibility of executing an innocent person is a grave injustice that no legal system should allow.

From an ethical standpoint, capital punishment raises significant concerns. Taking a person's life as punishment is inherently at odds with the principles of human rights, which advocate for the preservation of life and the dignity of every individual. It is crucial to recognize the inherent worth and potential for rehabilitation in even the most heinous criminals. Instead of focusing on retribution through death, efforts should be directed toward promoting rehabilitation, reforming the criminal justice system, and addressing the root causes of crime. Emphasizing punishment over rehabilitation perpetuates a cycle of violence rather than seeking long-term solutions.

Alternatives and International Trends:

Several countries and jurisdictions worldwide have abolished capital punishment, recognizing its inherent flaws and ethical implications. These nations have shifted their focus towards alternative forms of punishment, such as life imprisonment without parole. Life imprisonment allows for the possibility of reconsideration and offers an opportunity for rehabilitation, while still ensuring public safety. Rehabilitation programs, education, and therapy have shown promising results in reducing recidivism rates and offering individuals a chance to reintegrate into society.

In India, the death penalty is prescribed for certain offenses under the Indian Penal Code, such as murder, terrorism-related crimes, and cases deemed to be the "rarest of rare" in nature. The decision to award capital punishment is usually made by the judiciary after due process and consideration of the circumstances surrounding the crime. In recent years, there have been a few high-profile cases that have resulted in the imposition of the death penalty. However, the actual number of executions in India has been relatively low, and death sentences are often subject to lengthy legal proceedings, including appeals and mercy petitions.

It is worth noting that the use of capital punishment in India has been a subject of debate and criticism. Human rights organizations and advocates have raised concerns about the potential for miscarriages of justice, the possibility of executing innocent individuals, and the ethical implications of taking a life as punishment. These concerns have led to calls for the abolition of the death penalty or its limited use in exceptional cases.

In conclusion, capital punishment is an ineffective and ethically troubling practice. Its alleged deterrent effect lacks substantial evidence, while the potential for irreversible errors highlights the inherent flaws of the system. Moreover, the ethical concerns surrounding the taking of human life and the potential for rehabilitation necessitate a reevaluation of our approach to punishment. We should strive for a justice system that prioritizes the preservation of life, focuses on rehabilitation, and addresses the root causes of crime. By embracing alternatives to capital punishment, we can work towards a more just and humane society.

Furthermore, it is said that capital punishment does not effectively deter crime. Studies have shown that its deterrent effect is uncertain and that other factors, such as socioeconomic conditions and the certainty of apprehension and conviction, play more significant roles in crime prevention.

Rather than giving capital punishment, there can be other grievous punishments that can be used which will be helpful in eradicating the problems that are stated above and occurred due to capital punishment/ death penalty.


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