Every living entity has to die one day or another but the death is wished to be natural like the birth. Capital punishment has been part of the human society ever since the law was established. However, the first historically recorded capital punishment occurred in 16th Century BC Egypt where the wrongdoer, a member of nobility, was accused of magic, and ordered to take his own life. During this period, non-nobility was usually killed with an axe (The death penalty). Movements have been made for and against death penalty considering the benefits and detriments it causes and various studies have been done on the issue by means of different religious outlook. This essay is an attempt to draw attention in view of its psychological and sociological perspective.
In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians (DPIC). Though in 18th Century, the king of Babylon, Hammurabi was the first person who established death penalty laws and referred 25 crimes for capital punishment. Till today, numerous crimes among which murder and treason are top of the list are counted capital, severe enough to result methodical death of the criminal.
The idea of punishment is always linked with wrong doing. People are being punished for their actions which don’t support their respective unit’s norm. The word capital gives an impact of something big and important and punishment is the reaction given by the authority to the criminal, with an aim to warn others not to commit the crime, at the same time.
Henry Thomas Buckle once said “Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it”. Thus criminal’s bond with the society is deep and unbreakable. Therefore, every action taken by the judge of a court affects the society, of which both the judge and the convict are part. Though, a criminal commits the crime individually but leaves an impact on the society. Similarly, his punishment results both psychological and sociological effects.
Humans can never be 100 percent accurate in their decision and judgments and because of this fact every offender leaves his imprint in the track of felony. A criminal plans the strategy to commit a crime, usually; and is supposed to have a reason behind. Death is something sane people are usually afraid of. A delinquent commits crime either for his survival or to retaliate; however there are other crooks as well who commit felony to satisfy their id; the most common example of such fellows is serial killers. Sigmund Freud’s structural model of human psyche enlightens the leading function of a convict’s mind. An offender following id i.e. a serial killer is unlikely to fear execution. Sentencing such criminals to death doesn’t really affect them or the public but turns out to be beneficial for the welfare of a society.
A penalty’s main purpose is to impart fear of conviction among convicts. Keeping this ultimate intention in mind sentencing must have decreased the rate of crime but the statistical offense rates worldwide reveal the reverse. The most powerful country- US- which has made capital punishment a legally painful killing of convict in the world has the highest crime rate (Source Internet). Though US had introduced various methods to make an executed criminal’s death vile but seem to have failed to produce the dread among public. One possible reason of this failure is that the death penalty is given behind closed doors. If people get a personal sight of the capital suffering it is likely that the terror will be intense.
Every society has its own cultural values. Many people believe that level of legal punishments reflects the degree of tolerance in a community. “A society that responds to crime with capital punishment is an unforgiving society. Its use of such a degrading punishment says something about its commitment— or lack of commitment—to human dignity. It also reflects either arrogance on the part of the society—based on a belief that its institutions infallible—or indifference—a belief that the people affected by its decisions to kill are of so little worth that it does not matter if they are mistakenly executed”(Stephen). Humanists throughout the world take capital punishment as a cruel decision and condemn it. According to them, decision of one’s life and death cannot be given to another human because of his status. Whereas there are people who support capital punishment because of its deterring affect that saves the lives of innocent persons by discouraging potential murderers. They believe it prevents murderers from killing again. Their argument against a life imprisonment without parole (the early prison release of an offender) is that it leaves prison guards and other prisoners at risk as there is a doubt of escape. Only a capital sentence can free the society of their fears of serious murderers. For such supporters punishment for an offense is obligatory.
Capital punishment wipes out criminals and is always offensive either for the criminals or for the philanthropists. If it is effective enough to produce expected results and achieve its purpose then it must be consider a possible way to solve a capital issue; however eliminating criminals must not be the aim but eradicating crimes