Many countries in the world have capital punishment. Some countries have abolished it. Over the decades, capital punishment or death penalty has been hotly debated. There are many who support it and many who don’t. It is necessary to look at both sides of the argument in an objective manner. Here is a rational assessment of capital punishment pros and cons.
List of Pros of Capital Punishment
1. Death penalty is not the legally permissible punishment for any and every crime.
In almost every country that has capital punishment, barring the authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia and some other countries under dictatorship, the death penalty is reserved for the most heinous of crimes. Multiple homicide, waging war against the state, mass murder and serial offenders of heinous crimes like rape are given the capital punishment. There has to be a line drawn that segregates minor offences and very grave offences. When petty crimes, financial frauds and robbery or any such crime that doesn’t lead to loss of life or permanent scarring of a person’s life are meted out with several years of imprisonment and fines, there has to be some major punishment for murder, rape and other unforgivable crimes.
2. Capital punishment makes more sense than lifelong imprisonment.
If someone has committed a heinous crime that gets him or her sixty years or hundred years in jail, then instead of allowing the person to live on taxpayers’ money in relative security, being fed and basic amenities provided for is not an economically wise thing to do. Capital punishment saves substantial money.
3. Capital punishment is a deterrent.
Criminals would think before perpetrating the most severe crimes. A few years in jail, the ability to be out on parole or getting reprieve using some loophole in law will not deter a criminal. Fear of death is deemed as a significant step towards deterring crime.
List of Cons of Capital Punishment
1. Capital punishment goes against the very essence of imprisoning or punishing someone.
Legal punishment must provide the offender an opportunity to reform, to repent and be purged of the sin. If one is given the death penalty, then one really doesn’t get a chance to be reformed. It is eye for an eye. Murderers are murdered, the difference being the former is illegal and the latter legal. Capital punishment does away with the possibility of redemption.
2. You can not take back the punishment once it is administered.
Since law is misused many a time and many people don’t get fair treatment at the hands of the law, there is a possibility that some accused would be wrongly given the death penalty. There is no way to turn the clock back.