capital punishment Essay

Submitted By acnunez21
Words: 1324
Pages: 6

Angelica Nunez
Capital Punishment

The death penalty is a controversial topic in the United States today and has been for many years. Many death penalty supporters feel that the death penalty reduces crime because it makes people think before committing murder if they know that they will receive the death penalty if they are caught. Others in favor of the death penalty feel that even if it doesn't deter others from committing crimes, it will eliminate repeat offenders. Death penalty opponents however feel that the death penalty actually leads to an increase in crime because the death penalty desensitizes people to violence, and it sends the message that violence is a suitable way to resolve conflicts
Capital punishment has been defined as necessary and helpful for the world of chaos. The legal definition of the death penalty is a sentence of execution for the crime including murder and some other capital crimes; serious crimes, especially murder, which are punishable by death. According to Melissa Green “During this period of nearly half a century, over half (54%) of those executed were black, 45 percent were white, and the remaining one percent were members of other racial groups -- American Indians (a total of 19 executed from 1930-1967), Filipino (13), Chinese (8), and Japanese (2). The vast majority of those executed were men; 32 women were executed from 1930 to 1967. (Green) The earliest proof of the death penalty dates back to the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon in which 25 crimes were codified. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment, and stated in the eighth amendment would mean it was unconstitutional. The opinion of current methods of execution such as hanging, electrocution, and facing a firing were thought to be painfully slow, some sort of torture. In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision they had found a new quick and painless method, death by lethal injection. Since capital punishment has been reinstituted the issue has been discussed in every view. According to the website the first national death penalty abolition society, the American Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, is founded. Currently, there are thirty-three states in which the death penalty is legal and seventeen states that have abolished it (Death Penalty Information Center). The first record of execution in America is that of Captain George Kendall in Jamestown, Virginia. He was accused of espionage for Spain. A few years later, Virginia governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Marital Laws that provided for the death penalty in even the most minor offenses. Along with the enactment of capital punishment came the abolitionist movement, which still exists today. One of the major activists was Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Rush challenged the belief that the death penalty was a deterrence to crime. He convinced Benjamin Franklin and Philadelphia Attorney General William Bradford of this view. Bradford later became the US Attorney General and he led PA to become the first state to consider degrees of murder based on culpability. In the United States today, there are five existing methods of execution. These methods are used to kill convicted criminals that have been given the sentence of the death penalty. The different methods are; lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad shootings. Lethal injection is currently used by thirty-six states in America. It is the most commonly used from of execution in the U.S. The preparation begins outside of the chamber with the use of a gurney. The convict is held to the gurney by wrist and ankle straps. There is then a cardiac monitor and stethoscope attached and started. In each arm there is a saline intravenous line. The convict is then