capital punishment in criminal justice system


This paper seeks to give an analysis on the reasons why some people favor capital punishment. Most times, in order to ensure that criminals do not commit crimes, they have to be punished severely. This means that murderers are stooped, if they will also lose their lives. In turn, more murders are prevented from occurring in the future. Murderers will think rationally before they commit any crime as the punishment that awaits them is extremely harsh (Whitehead & Blankenship, 2000).

Reasons for favoring capital punishment

There is a lot of concern regarding capital punishment, as it plays a vital part in society. According to research, there are many ways why people might oppose or support capital punishment. In the year 1608 in Virginia Jamestown, Kendall James a captain was found guilty of an offense. He was accused of being Spain‘s spy and in the history of the united states, was the first person ever to be executed (Whitehead & Blankenship, 2000). Many people have been executed since then. Capital punishment is supported all over the world. Many states have come up with laws regarding capital punishment as there is a belief that it is beneficial.

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Some people believe that in order to stop crimes, capital punishment should take place. This is because it is believed to be a deterrence to crime. The belief is that punishments, which are severe, ensure that people do not engage in acts of crime. General and specific are examples of deterrence, which exist. Those who commit crimes alone are known to commit deterrence, which is specific. The purpose of the punishment is to ensure that in the future, people do not commit crimes. Deterrence, which is general, is aimed at the public sector. It is believed that it deters people from committing crimes, which are similar to the other person, has learned a lesson. Life imprisonment it not a severe enough punishment as compared to the death penalty. The most common reason why people support the death penalty is that it is deterrence. Politicians are in favor of the death penalty as it prevents people from committing murders (Woolf, 2004).

Those who commit crimes of a violent nature should be reattributed through the death penalty. For a period of twenty years, the public is becoming extremely hardened on matters related to capital punishment. ‘Just Deserts’ is the word used to describe the definition of retribution. This is because it is extremely difficult to comprehend. The belief is that acts of a criminal nature should be punished by the same type of punishment. In this case, it means that people who commit murder must be killed, just as they did to the other people. Lex talismans is the principle by, which the ideology is known. This means that a crime is punished the same way (Woolf, 2004).

According to Christian beliefs, those who kill others should also incur the same punishment. This is found in their Bible in a book known as Leviticus. This means that the ideology being put across is that punitive action is meant to reattribute those who commit crimes such as murder. Those who commit murders should be willing to sacrifice their own lives as they have taken that of others. This means the death penalty should be for the crime of murder. Retribution is an ideology, which is emotional, as it evokes lot of emotions from various parties. The death penalty is brought about because people are emotionally affected by the crime of murder. Most times it is assumed that the family of the victim should take revenge as a result of the murder, which is committed. Also, society seeks to ensure that murders are punished accordingly. When a murderer is punished, people are relived of the anger, which they experienced when the victim died. The violent act, which was committed, is thus reattributed when the murderer is killed. According to research, it was found out that the death penalty is meant to occur when people commit murders. There is a need to ensure that people pay for their crimes through the death penalty (Woolf, 2004).

Other people believe that through the death penalty, incapacitation occurs and thus it is justified. The state is meant to ensure that people who commit crimes do not continue with such activities in the future. There are many by which curtailment occurs, such as through death, imprisonment, and probation. They believe that once the murderer is dead they do not have the ability to commit other crimes, since they are incapacitated. Society becomes safe as the murderer is not able to commit further crimes (Woolf, 2004).

The ideology based upon the instrumental perspective is upheld by people, who are in favor of capital punishment. Those who favor the death penalty also fear crimes, due to its detrimental consequences. The rate of crime seems to increase on a daily basis and there is a need to stop it. This is possible through coming up with a law, which ensures that order is maintained. A mentality, which based on being tough, is used. In most societies, the death penalty is considered to be an extreme and harsh punishment.It is believed that in the United States, dealing with crime is a difficult issue, thus the use of the death penalty. In order for there to be social control, people favor the death penalty. It is viewed as a resort to punishment using violence (Woolf, 2004).

Psychologists believe that those who regard crime as being a problem of a social nature also fear it. Thus, there should be punishments which are extreme as well as severe. Protection and the need to ensure crimes are reduced is the reason why people encourage the death penalty to exist. People’s attitude makes sure that they can influence the end, through the powers, which are contained in the death penalty. Potential criminals become fearful when they know that they will pay dearly when they commit crimes. This in turn ensures that maintenance of law and order occurs. There are claims among the black community that nothing much is being done to ensure that capital punishment is enforced by courts (Woolf, 2004).

Lastly, it is believed that people who commit crimes should not be sentenced to imprisonment as this is expensive. Instead, the person should be executed as it is convenient as well as cheap. This claim is popular among the supporters of capital punishment despite it being erroneous. In a way, incapacitation is related to the issue on cost (Woolf, 2004).


In conclusion, there are many opinions regarding capital punishment. The main reason behind the favor of capital punishment is morality, order, the law as well as emotional factors. Those who commit crimes ought to be aware of the consequences of their actions. Thus; capital punishment should be enforced in all the American states.













Question two

The topic being discussed concerns matters related to capital punishment .The views which people have concerning capital punishment should be known .Various claims exist concerning capital punishment. There are those who support it, while others are opposed to capital punishment. My claim is that people should support capital punishment due to its many benefits to society (Mandery, 2005). There is evidence to show that capital punishment should be allowed as well be enforced. According to studies conducted by Isaac Ehrlich, a famous criminologist, capital punishment ensures that murders do not occur in the future. The results were that as much as seven people had their lives spared, when an inmate was executed. This is because capital punishment is a deterrent to making sure that people do not commit crimes. Other criminologists have found the same results from their studies.

From the results, which I found after the survey, most people fear death and through being executed, they will keep away from committing any crimes. The claim, which has been proposed matches up to the steps involved in ‘proving a theory’ as well as the ‘scientific method’. During the examination, it was found out that the evidence as well as the claim measure up. Also, it fails to do so was because not everyone believes in the impact of capital punishment. In order to make the two more acceptable, more should be done to ensure that the effects of capital punishment are made known (Mandery, 2005). The people, who should be aware of this claim, is everybody in society. This is because they are affected by capital punishment in many ways. The murderers as well as the victims are affected when a crime is committed. This means that in order to ensure that there is maintenance of law and order; crime should be stopped, using extreme measures. In this case, is through the implementation of capital punishment.

The claim on capital punishment is meant to ensure that people are aware of the benefits of capital punishment. In turn, they will know that people, who commit crimes, should be punished accordingly. Murderers should be the ones, who are executed, as they take the life of other humans. The audience should not sympathize with people who commit crime as the impact is felt greatly by victims of crimes. The audience should be completely satisfied with the claim as well as the evidence given.  Certain cues, which are empathetic as well as motivational, have been used to ensure that the audience favors the claim. They include words such as retribution, emotional, deterrence, victim’s family, anger, among others. These words need to be known as they make sure the audience is aware of the importance of capital punishment (The Death Penalty Information Center, 2001).

In order to ensure that my position is acknowledged by the audience, certain elements concerning capital punishment should be known. The victims of the murdered peoples view point should be known, as it will make the audience sympathize with them .In turn, they will concur with the claim. The audience should be aware of all the matters related to capital punishment; so that they choose what they believe is right. The audience might be persuaded to favor the position whereby, capital punishment is not good. To avoid this, it should be known that murderers are inhumane, thus should not be accorded the right to be alive. Also, the audience should be aware that money is saved when criminals are executed. In the future, people will not easily commit crimes, due to the punishment involved (The Death Penalty Information Center, 2001).




Question three

In coming up with the argument concerning the reasons why capital punishment is favored, there were conclusions as well as premises. The first premise is that capital punishment serves as a deterrent to criminals. This is true because those who are executed serve as warnings to other criminals (Valid). The other premise is that capital punishment serves as a reattribution as this punishment is punitive. In turn, people who murder others, pay with their own lives. Incapacitation is another premise whereby, criminals who have been executed will never commit other crimes (Valid). Since they are not alive they cannot murder others. According to the perspective, which is instrumental, societal problems are gotten rid of when criminals are executed. In turn, the society benefits thorough reduced crime rates (Valid) . Lastly, capital punishment ensures that costs are not incurred. More is spent on criminals when they are in prison as compared to when they are dead (Not Valid). The entire premises are true except for the one on cost, which is an informal fallacy. It might not be valid since no one has proven the costs between maintaining a prisoner and killing them. It is a fallacy of presumption since there is no evidence to support the claim

The other arguments are valid because through various tests, which were conducted by criminologists, they were found to be true. The evidence given by the premises in the argument ensure that the conclusion is not a fallacy, but is instead true. In order to ensure that the arguments are free from fallacies sufficient evidence should be given as support (The Death Penalty Information Center, 2001).






Mandery, Evan. (2005). Capital punishment: a balanced examination. Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

The Death Penalty Information Center. (2001). History of the death penalty and public opinion about the death penalty. Retrieved from

Whitehead, J. & Blankenship, M. (2000). The gender gap in capital punishment attitudes: An analysis of support and opposition. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 25, 1-13.

Woolf, Alex (2004). World issues – Capital Punishment. New York: Chrysalis Education.







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