The death penalty has been dated back in time as far as the Fifth Century B.C practiced by the Romans and the Athenians; the punishment goes even further to the Eighteenth Century B.C in Babylon under the rule of King Hammurabi. Overall, the punishment by death has stood the test of time, and in recent times, the question of its abolishment has come to develop. In many parts of the globe, punishment by death is practiced in counties such as Japan (Johnson, 2022), while it has been abolished in places like Denmark (Chahrour, 2020). Therefore, the big question remains, should the death penalty be abolished, or should it persevere as a capital punishment? Death penalty should be done away with due to its several cons that I will bring to light. First, I will discuss the ethical and moral concerns related to the death penalty, then I will talk about the violation of human rights, and finally, I will present how the death penalty denies the due process of law.
Moral and Ethical Concerns
The punishment of any crime in terms of execution goes against the ethical and moral conduct of being a human being (Ryberg, 2019). The practice is barbaric and does not represent human progress throughout the years.
In addition, the death penalty is a coarse and barbaric manner of dealing with the lawbreakers of society (Akhter, 2020); it takes human beings back to the period of slavery, diminishing humans as being evolved beings and the top of the food chain.
Violation of Human Rights
Violation of Right to Life
The right to life is the most important human right that all should observe despite the situation (Ramcharan, 2021). In the case of punishment of lawbreakers, the right to life should therefore be upholder. Therefore, the death penalty raises the legitimacy of the right to take one’s life.
Violation of Equal Protection
The second violation is that of equal protection to all humans; death sentences are unfair in their execution (Hoag, 2019); the administering of such punishment is most of the time based on discrimination based on factors such as race, social class, literacy, and location.
Denial of Due Process of the Law
More than often, the justice system turns out to be inefficient, resulting in the wrong execution of justice. A person may be wrongfully accused of a crime (Wakefield, 2022), and hence hasty punishments such as punishment by death may deny one from benefiting from delayed justice, such as the presentation of new evidence.
Evolution of law
Laws also come to change, and therefore, an irreversible act such as execution prevents one from obtaining such pardons; for instance, the overview of death penalties in drug offenses (Girelli, 2019). The new law may permit the revisit of prior cases, therefore benefiting the initially deemed lawbreakers, which is irrevocable in the case of punishment by death.
In conclusion, as I mentioned death penalty has more disadvantages than advantages to human life. First, as I stated earlier, punishment by death is a big moral and ethical concern to human existence that jeopardizes the entire evolution humans have achieved, specifically in penology. I also mentioned that punishment by death violates human rights, such as the undisputed right to life and the right to equal protection of all humans. Finally, I mentioned the issue of going against the due process of law to bring justice with time, in which penalties such as death prevents justice from being served. Punishment by death has not proven to be an effective way of improving society in crime reduction and mass education; therefore, rehabilitation is and always will be better than revolution; say no to punishment by death.
Akhter, R. (2020). Death Penalty Extinguishing Human Life. Law Essentials J., 1, 56.
Chahrour, F. (2020). Livets okränkbarhet i förhållande till dödsstraffet–En rättshistorisk utredning av dödsstraffets avskaffande i de skandinaviska länderna.
Girelli, G. (2019). The death penalty for drug offenses: Global overview 2018.
Hoag, A. (2019). Valuing Black Lives: A Case for Ending the Death Penalty. Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev., 51, 983.
Johnson, D. T. (2022). 12. The Death Penalty in Japan: Secrecy, Silence, and Salience. In The cultural lives of capital punishment (pp. 251-273). Stanford University Press.
Ramcharan, B. G. (Ed.). (2021). The right to life in international law. BRILL.
Ryberg, J. (2019). Neurointerventions, crime, and punishment: ethical considerations. Oxford University Press, USA.
Wakefield, B. (2022). The Death Penalty: Recent trends in exonerations and recommendations for further improvements.