The death penalty, or capital punishment, is defined as the infliction of death as a punishment for breaking criminal law. In the United States, the death penalty is usually applied for crimes that are considered especially horrible, such as murder, but is also used in cases of treason and large-scale drug trafficking.
Methods of Capital Punishment
Today's methods of capital punishment include:
- Lethal injection
- Firing squad
- Gas chamber
Controversy Surrounding the Death Penalty
Capital punishment has been heavily debated for centuries. Many arguments have been presented by both supporters and opponents of the death penalty. Supporters contend that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes and opponents contend that it is cruel and unusual punishment, and violates human rights.
Pro Death Penalty
Supporters of the death penalty also use the following arguments to defend their stance:
- Execution is a fitting form of retribution for the victims of crime.
- Executions are more effective than imprisonment because humans fear death more than loss of liberty.
- It ensures safety for the rest of society.
Anti Death Penalty
Opponents of the death penalty use the following arguments to defend their stance:
- Execution is an affront to human dignity - it is cruel and unusual punishment.
- The severity of the punishment is not as effective at deterring crime as the assurance that punishment will be inflicted. In other words, if punishment deters crime, there is no reason to choose the more brutal punishment.
- Capital punishment does not decrease the rate of homicide.
Contact a Criminal Law Attorney
To learn more about the death penalty, which crimes constitute capital punishment, and other issues surrounding executions, contact criminal attorneys in your local area.