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Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Permissible.

Capital Punishment is a matter that has been in several debates over the years in society. It has attracted several arguments from various parts of society, including philosophical practical, and ethical fields. From my moral perspective, capital Punishment should not be morally permitted. This is because the act of punishing individuals through the death penalty deprives them of their fundamental right to life (Amnesty International, 2021). It would also be an open violation of a fundamental right preserved in many international human rights associations and treaties. I will defend this position using the utilitarianism argument that capital Punishment does not maximize happiness in any way but rather brings suffering of some kind.

First, the result of Capital Punishment is not happiness. Utilitarianism focuses on bringing, improving, or maximizing happiness and the overall welfare of individuals, which Capital Punishment does not. It does not bring the involved community any benefit that pays for the life taken because the community cannot be a happy or safer place even after execution (Hoag, n.d.). This means that even upon executing the convicted criminal or murderer, the community is not outweighed by the loss of life caused; therefore, no happiness is gained. Capital Punishment brings a lot of suffering and pain to the individual being executed and his or her loved ones in several ways, which may include; being deeply grieved and traumatized, especially if the executed was so close, being seen as associatively guilty hence isolated, stigmatized and discriminated, getting financially burdened due to legal fees involved in the process, burial expenses and losing income especially if the executed person was the family’s breadwinner. Other issues with higher chances of rising from the execution include long-term mental issues such as anxiety and depression.

Secondly, there is the unfortunate chance of executing an innocent person, which is always present in any legal justice system, no matter how thorough or fair. Another goal of utilitarianism is to maximize every means that can minimize the harm resulting from a decision or act (Amnesty International, 2021). The most severe harm that can be inflicted on any community or individual is executing an innocent person. Since none of the world’s justice systems could be infallible no matter what, it makes capital Punishment a morally detestable act and an abhorrent one in administering justice. There are several cases across the world where individuals have been wrongfully found guilty and sentenced to death, only to be vindicated later in life due to fresh pieces of evidence. The irreversibility of capital punishment consequences makes it the most unreliable and limited punishment method, even in the world’s purportedly most rigorous legal system. This kind of execution can cause social disorderliness and public mistrust in the judicial system, therefore, harming the overall well-being of society.

Probability of rehabilitation. Due to the fact that utilitarianism aims to maximize overall happiness, it accepts Punishment as a means of providing justice but also focuses on the possibility of the convict changing into a better person and hence believes in giving everyone a second chance. It provides that the aims of Punishment include preventing a future repetition of the same crime or harm and not for revenge. The utilitarian argument, therefore, is that the death penalty denies the convict a chance of rehabilitation and positively contributes to the society. Therefore, this makes Capital Punishment a corrupt and continuous revenge system rather than promoting rehabilitation and an overall happy society. The most productive and safe means of Punishment and correction is one that focuses on addressing the root cause of the crime rather than the offender. The result should be to prevent future occurrences rather than conducting revenge on the convict. This would bring about general satisfaction in the community, making everyone happy and hence increasing overall happiness. Additionally, addressing the root causes of crimes would bring solutions and means of preventing future occurrences hence eventually making the society a safer and better place.

In conclusion, Capital Punishment is morally unacceptable as it is against the fundamental right to life of every individual. It is a morally defenseless act that shamelessly undermines the dignity a human life carries and perpetuates a terrible culture of vengeance and violence. It also leads to the execution of innocent individuals and, either way, causes shattering and permanent effects on the lives of the loved ones of the executed. It is important for policymakers to consider these effects in a push to make capital Punishment illegal. Capital Punishment is also against the utilitarian emphasis on the importance of rehabilitation and provision of second chances rather than Punishment of the offender. Capital Punishment is often flawed and always against the less advantaged in society. Despite the presence of arguments favoring the death penalty as a means of Punishment, the weight of the violation of human rights and the risk of injustices resulting from it outweigh the potential benefits. The overall result of capital Punishment is neither happiness nor satisfaction, thus inappropriate means of punishing.


Amnesty International. (2021). Death Penalty. Amnesty International.

Hoag, R. (n.d.). Capital Punishment | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


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