The Death Penalty is a Scapegoat for Punishment

Executions By County MapThe death penalty is a widely debated topic. For some, the death penalty is a sigh of relief; a way to do away with the ‘evil’ that encompassed the men or women who were sentenced. On the other hand, others believe not even the most evil person should have his/her life taken away. That fact can be supported by religious beliefs or simply humanistic beliefs that say a person’s life should not be taken away.

I believe we should not summon any criminal or even murderer to the death penalty, despite the crime the individual may have committed.

I even speak for those who may have committed the most heinous crimes in history. My support does not necessarily come from religion. It comes from the fact that summoning an individual to the death penalty serves as a scapegoat for the prisoner’s actions.

Ernest Van Den Haag states : “others insist that a person sentenced to death suffers more than his victim suffered, and that this (excess) suffering is undue” [. . .].”

He then goes on to counter that with the idea that punishment “is not intended to revenge, offset, or compensate for the victim’s suffering, or to be measured by it. Punishment is to vindicate the law and the social order undermined by the crime.”

But why can’t it be seen the opposite way?  Lethal injections and other subtle approaches to death do not allow the criminal to experience grief, anguish, fear and other factors that probably occurred as they committed to their own victim(s). Besides “vindicating the law,” why not simply rule out the death penalty option and allow that person to stay in prison for the duration of his/her life?

Of course there are issues to consider such as overcrowding and the extreme level of how an individual is perceived to be completely crazy and out of his/her mind.

First, the reality is that allowing overcrowding does cause risks. However, these murderers and criminals are committing an ultimate crime that in my opinion, justifies the reasoning that we should not take extra measures to accommodate them. If there are too many inmates, then there are too many. We also should remember that many are killed every day due to the level of violence within the prisons. Ultimately, I do not believe we should give much consideration to overcrowding. Just put them all together and allow whatever to happen. They each made a choice and that choice has consequences. What comes with those consequences will not be the best of circumstances.

Lastly, there is also the issue that certain criminals are just too dangerous to keep alive. This adds to my point before. Why not integrate them along with other inmates and just let it be. Even the most dangerous criminals deserve some type of punishment without the copout of having to be lethally injected, etc.

Well that is my opinion. What do you guys think?


2 thoughts on “The Death Penalty is a Scapegoat for Punishment

  1. Although I do enjoy your proposition to throw all of the criminals into one big containment area and just let it be, there are obvious problem that we can talk about in prison. Many argue that capital punishment is an inhumane act. Therefore, I do not think the solution would be to let all of the criminals live together unprotected. That could be even more inhumane than capital punishment. What is the purpose of the prison system? I do not think that our prison system has a succinct purpose like other countries do. Norway’s prison system has a definite purpose of rehabilitation for its criminals. Some of our criminals are released and rehabilitated, some are repeat offenders, and some spend their lives in prison. It is really confusing and before we, as a state or country, take an exact stance on capital punishment, we need to define the purpose of our prison system.

  2. Many of the people who go into prison are usually going to come out and then go right back in. Here in the US we just let them walk out of the door with the clothes and items they came into the jail with, whether it was 1 day or 10 years later. I don’t think that putting the most dangerous people together would be a good idea. I think that if we were to do that, many bad things would happen. Even though you think it is wrong to kill someone and they should sit and think about what they did, these people have the time to do that while they sit there for many years before being killed.

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