Nov 10, 2020 in Law

Capital Punishment: executing for committing a crime

Capital punishment is one of the means of punishing an individual according to the law. Capital punishment is a form of sentence, whereby an individual is executed for committing a crime. There are offenses in the constitution which in most cases are subject to capital punishment (Capital Punishment: A Bibliography with Indexes, 2003). This type of punishment is exercised in different ways depending on the constitution of a country. For instance, in most of the countries, capital punishment are normally exercised whenever one commits treason. However, in some of the countries mostly Asian countries, an individual is usually sentenced to death as a result of committing drug related offenses. Capital punishment is implemented order to serve an array of objectives that will be discussed throughout this paper.

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Capital punishment was put in place in the ancient days to deter people from committing certain crimes. During those times, capital punishment was a common practice in many nations, and it was usually being carried out in front of the general public in order to ensure that most of the people knew the consequences of committing certain crimes. This method was partly an effective means of deterrence (Freedman, 2004). It is attributed to the fact that people were aware that capital punishment was being enforced. Most of the people during that time had either witnessed or heard about capital punishment because it was widely practiced. There are various techniques, which were employed as a way of carrying out capital punishment. They include, but are not limited to the following: firing squad, beheading by the use of a guillotine, stoning, and hanging.

In the modern world, many countries rarely exercise capital punishment despite being one of the forms of punishments in the constitution. It is attributed to the fact that capital punishment is regarded as barbaric, and form of the infringement of the fundamental rights of a human being. There are countries that have abolished the exercising of capital punishment, whereas there are countries such as Saudi Arabia where it is still widely practiced. Over the years, professionals in the field of rehabilitation have tried to devise several ways through which criminals can be punished and rehabilitated (Kronenwetter, 2001). There have developed programs such as community service, which are aimed at punishing as well as rehabilitating a petty offender. However, it is imperative to note that they have not been able to develop efficient techniques and mechanisms of replacing capital punishment. As a result, of this capital punishment is administered but it is usually carried out in a way, which ensures that the person undergoes minimal amount of pain possible. It is due to the fact that administering capital punishment means taking away the life of a human being. Some of the ways through which capital punishment is exercised in the modern world includes the following: use of lethal injection, electrocution, and use of the gas chamber (Zimring, 2003).

Despite the advances in the way, capital punishment is administered there are no significant changes that have been made since through all of the aforementioned processes of administering capital punishment an individual is normally subjected to a lot of pain before death (Mandery, 2012). As a result, there are a substantial number of individuals championing for the abolishment of capital punishment in most countries throughout the world.


In the ancient times, capital punishment was considered as one of the forms of retributive justice. It was due to the fact that it was effective in the prevention of crime. Majority of the people were of the opinion that most of the people who underwent capital punishment deserved it as in most cases, criminals were the ones who were victims of capital punishment. Criminals were detested, and upon their arrest in most of the times they were put to death (Zimring, 2003). The reason why they were put to death is that the rulers aimed at cleansing the community. Their goal was to ensure that everybody lived in a manner that was conforming to the law. This method was effective in ensuring there was a low prevalence of criminal activities within the community.

In some cases, capital punishment was considered to be derogatory and inhumane since some leaders subjected innocent people to capital punishment. In most cases, people who went against the view of the rulers were normally unfairly subjected to capital punishment. There came a time that most of the leaders commenced putting people through capital punishment despite not having violated the law (Rutherford, 1996). As a result, the number of people that were against the practice of capital punishment increased significantly.

Hitler is among the leaders who are widely known for having subjected people to capital punishment unfairly. Adolf Hitler who adopted dictatorship rule in Germany subjected the Jews to capital punishment by instructing his soldiers to put them in the steam chambers. The day that the Jews were subjected to the unfair and inhumane capital punishment is commonly referred to as Holocaust. This kind of inhumane treatment has contributed immensely to peoples negative attitude towards capital punishment (Freedman, 2004).


Capital punishment is used as a means of ensuring the criminals are incapacitated and they are not capable of committing certain crimes again. The process of incapacitating criminals by administering the death sentence is not an effective way of punishing an individual (Freedman, 2004). It is desirable for institutions to ensure that they employ various means of rehabilitation and punishment that are available other than capital punishment.

This is because killing criminals through execution serves as an encouragement to some people to commit more crimes. This is because, upon the execution of a person that was a leader of a dangerous group, a nation risks its entire security. This is because his sympathizers will ensure that they have looked for ways though which they can revenge. An example of such an extreme group is Al Qaeda, and an example of such a leader is Osama bin Laden. It is also important that, in some cases, the administration of capital punishment may lead to the glorification of a leader (Mandery, 2012). This is due to the fact that, upon execution of a leader considered a hero in the opinion of certain people may lead to more people wanting to face death like their leader. This in turn, causes an increase in the levels of crimes or terrorist activities across and around the world.

Human Right

Capital punishment according to various human rights activists is considered as a way through which the basic human rights of an individual are violated as capital punishment is the process of execution of man and it usually contravenes the individuals right to life (Rutherford, 1996). As a result, there has been an increase in the amount of pressure that the human rights lobby groups are exerting on governments in order for them to do away with capital punishment. In some countries, the human rights activists have been successful thus leading to the abolishment of capital punishment. It is important to note the fact that despite many nations both affluent and developing countries boasting of protection of human right very few of them have abolished this archaic practice. For instance in the United States, very few federal governments have enforced reforms that have seen the abolishment of the death sentence.

Some governments argue that they have maintained and reserved the capital punishments for extreme crimes against humanity. They brand capital punishment as one of the ways of protecting the fundamental rights of human beings. They argue that if a person of sound mind commits homicide he or she should also be subjected through the very same treatment (Zimring, 2003). They claim that capital punishment serves as a way of administering retributive justice, protecting human rights, incapacitating criminals as well as deterring people from committing certain crimes.

In light of this, government should also note that by taking the life of an individual, as a form of punishment for a murderer, it does not necessarily transform the behavior of criminals. Instead, it just makes the murderers to employ complex mechanisms during the committing of crimes that will prevent them from being caught (Rutherford, 1996). Sometimes, the safest way to handle an enemy is to reconcile with him/her and make him a friend. Thus, you can be sure that they will not harm you. The government can achieve this through rehabilitation.

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