The debate about death penalty or capital punishment has attracted intensive debate more than any other public policy that has been executed in the past with religious communities participating in either sides of the debate. The issues of consideration in this debate surround religious teachings together with the contribution of tradition and the role of capital punishment in the definition of justice in relation to human life dignity (Anckar, 2004). Death penalty issue has been surrounded by controversies overtime with specific reference to the fairness attributed to the system of criminal justice, doctors’ role during execution of offenders and the potential probability to rehabilitate and reform death row convicts (Simon, 2002).
According the article THE PEW FORUM ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE from pewforum.org, most people oppose death penalty on account of a number of diverse arguments. The most important consideration is the sacred nature of human life. The government cannot be warranted to take the human life in form of meting justice. The opponents also argue that two wrongs can never make a right and therefore executing a person in form of doing justice to another person cannot be justified under any circumstance. Death penalty is also associated with unfairness due to its disproportionate execution in which case the minorities together with low income groups of population are the major targets. The perceptions of the opponents in as far as death penalty is concerned are that it is an effective means of deterring crime. In case it can achieve the objectives of deterring crime, there are some profound flaws that arise where a person is wrongly convicted. Some of the people who are found guilty after their trial are actually innocent but they were wrongly judged. However, there has been a significant development since the inauguration of DNA tests whose sophistication has facilitated for the release of so many death row prisoners in the recent past.
Pewforum also suggests that, the proponents of death sentence have their arguments in favor of capital execution of capital offenders. They argue that the crimes committed by the people deserving this punishment are heinous as well as brutal to the extent that their punishment should be as harsh as to the extent of death so that justice is done. The proponents also hold on available statistics that indicate the positive contribution of capital punishment in deterring violent crimes. The supporters rule out any mistake in executing the punishment that could lead to sentencing an innocent person to this punishment. The recent development in technology has created reliable means of proof such as the DNA together with the ballistic evidence that overrides any possibility of error during trial (Allen, Jerome & Vincent, 2008). Furthermore, the proponents posit that, the convicts of capital offences are subjected to lengthy processes of appeals before the final judgment is made and this limits the possibilities of mistakenly convicting an innocent person to capital punishment. The proponents insist that death penalty is a vital tool in the preservation of law and order and in deterring crime. They also argue that of its execution are lower than the cost associated with life imprisonment. They view retributive justice associated with “an eye for an eye” to be favorable to the victim and a source of consolation to the grieving families. Death penalty is also seen to deny future opportunities for causing tragedy to perpetrators of atrocious crimes
Pewforum also gives the viewpoint of the opponents. The opponents of death penalty have played a significant role in changing the procedures of execution. In the past the process of execution was crude and brutal involving physical hanging of the convicted criminals in public. Over the past 100 years, the opponents have been challenging this practice of publicly executing the criminals and this has led to the development of more humane procedures of executing the violent criminals. The human methods include the use of electric chair and lethal injections. The opponents blame the government for using death penalties to take the human life wrongly and perpetuation of social injustices to minority groups and the poor people in the society who cannot hire competent attorneys. The proponents advocate for lifetime custodial sentences which are considered to be more severe as compared to death sentence.
Most of the opponents of death penalty are medical physicians. Their contribution has increased the level of humane and sanity during execution of death row convicts and their presence during lethal injection have been made to be a medical requirement. The situation has been made even complicated with the introduction medical ethics that bar the participation of doctors in executions owing to the rule that the duty of doctors is healing but not hurting (Goldman, 2002). Inmates have therefore been exposed to longer executions as physicians abscond the practice and untrained prison personnel perform the exercise with mistakes. Most of the countries especially in Western and Central Europe have dropped capital punishment as a means of deterring violent crime irrespective of the magnitude of the crime committed. However, a few of the developing countries still hold to the use of capital punishment.
A paragraph from the article the correct bibliographic entry in APA format
“Few public policy issues have inflamed passions as consistently and as sturdily as the debate over capital punishment. Religious communities have been intensely involved on both sides of the subject, drawing on teachings along with traditions that define justice together with the dignity of human life. The debate concerning death penalty has been complicated in recent years by such concerns as the fairness of the criminal justice system, the role of doctors in carrying out executions, and the possibility of reform together with rehabilitation among death row inmates” (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008).
Sentence from the paragraph and the appropriate in-text citation for it as well
Death penalty issue has been surrounded by controversies overtime with specific reference to the fairness attributed to the system of criminal justice, doctors’ role during execution of offenders and the potential probability to rehabilitate and reform death row convicts (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008)
Paraphrased passage of the paragraph and it appropriate citation
The debate about death penalty or capital punishment has attracted intensive debate more than any other public policy that has been executed in the past with religious communities participating in either sides of the debate. The issues of consideration in this debate surround religious teachings together with the contribution of tradition and the role of capital punishment in the definition of justice in relation to human life dignity (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008)
Allen, H. W., Jerome, M. C. & Vincent, A. L., (2008). Race, Class, and the Death Penalty: Capital Punishment in American History. Albany: State University of New York Press,
Anckar, C., (2004). Determinants of the Death Penalty. New York: Routledge.
Goldman, R., (2002). Capital Punishment. Washington: CQ Press.
Simon, R. J., (2002). A Comparative Analysis of Capital Punishment. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.