Capital Punishment is the practice of executing convicted criminals whose crimes are severe. The United States is one of the only Western democracies that maintains the use of capital punishment. Capital Punishment has come under increased scrutiny and controversy in recent years, thought it remains a sentencing option in most states.
At least on the surface, public opinion in the United States overwhelmingly supports capital punishment.
Alone among the Western democracies, state governments in the United States authorize and conduct executions as criminal punishment and show no clear indication of a willingness to stop doing so.
The death penalty as punishment for the most serious crimes is morally justified. Honest people and philosophers may disagree on these matters, but I will present my reasons for supporting the retention of this practice.
Most registered Texan voters still support capital punishment, a new poll has found, with close to three quarters of all respondents stating that they are either somewhat or strongly in favor of the death penalty.
The same anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug of choice for executions in Missouri, causing a stir among critics who question how the state can guarantee a drug untested for lethal injection won't cause pain and suffering for the condemned.
The University of Michigan law school and Northwestern University have compiled a new National Registry of Exonerations – a database of over 2,000 prisoners exonerated between 1989 and the present day, when DNA evidence has been widely used to clear the names of innocent people convicted of rape and murder.
As early as this week, Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, is poised to sign a bill repealing the death penalty in Connecticut. A separate proposal has qualified for the November ballot in California that would shut down the largest death row in the country and convert inmates’ sentences to life without parole.
While only a handful of countries had stopped executing offenders in 1900, by the beginning of the new century approximately two-thirds no longer impose capital punishment. In some cases, there are exceptions for war-related offences or treason.
Indeed America ﬁnds itself in the company of countries
such as China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan in its continuing
use of state killing
Louis Masur’s historical study of capital punishment in the 18th and 19th centuries noted that even then, “those whom the state hanged tended to be young, black, or foreign.” 14 More recent statistics suggest that the racial dimension to this pattern persisted. For example, between 1930 and 1982, African Americans comprised 10– 12% of the United States population but 53% of those executed. 15 In presumably more enlightened times, only modest reductions in these disparities have been brought about. For example, in 1995, a year in which 56 persons were executed in the United States, over 40% were persons of color (25 of 56), almost all of whom were African American (22 of 56, or 39% of the total).