The Death Penalty: Past, Present and Future

Published: 2021-06-29 07:10:49
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The Death Penalty: Past,
Present and Future
Introduction
In the United States today the concept of the death penalty brings about a lot of arguments. There are those who are strongly opposed and those who are in favor of its use. For each side there are legitimate arguments, but the death penalty has been around for centuries and different tactics have been used throughout time. In today's society there are states that still use capital punishment for offenders and in others it has been abolished.
In the Beginning
The use of the death penalty came back as far back as the Code of King Hammaurabi, when the penalty was used for 25 different crimes (DPIC, 2007). The tactics used included crucifixion, burning alive, and drowning to name a few. There were instances where women were burned like witches for committing certain crimes. Over time the methods that were used changed and there were fewer crimes that were punishable by death and in some countries the penalty given was determined by the social class of an individual.
The "death penalty remained in the largest part of the legal systems until the end of the Eighteenth Century, when the attempts to oppose it started to be many and important" (Thinkquest, 4). During this time those who were opposed to the use of the death penalty as punishment outnumbers those who were in favor. Because of the oppositions there came the first known abolishment of the death penalty. The abolishment came first overseas in Italy, but then soon followed in some of the western states. The states that took part in the abolishment turned to punishing criminals to life in prison. Despite the states and countries that were doing away with the death penalty there were still some that continued using it such as in Russia in the time of Lenin and Stalin (Thinkquest).
When the states began to take part in the abolishment of the death penalty many of them didn't do away with it completely. The crimes that were punished by death changed and some states took the executions out of the public eye. It wasn't until Michigan in 1846 that the death penalty was abolished in the states for all crimes except for treason (DPIC, 2007). Soon after Michigan abolished the use, other states and countries followed in their path.
Death Row Today
The death penalty today is still a topic that is argued over. "On the one hand, you have many victims' families demanding retribution, demanding a closure they say can only come from knowing that the murderer's life has been snuffed out" (Kalet, 2006, 2). Those who are for the death penalty make claim that ending the offenders life brings about closure, but the question remains as to whether or not it brings justice. The amount of time that an individual spends on death row keeps the pain of the victims on the surface even longer. An individual facing the death penalty has an opportunity to appeal numerous times which keeps the wounds inflicted on those around the victim open (Kalet, 2006). So the question remains, is the death penalty a good punishment for violent crimes?

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