Capital punishment

The death penalty has been around for thousands of years. Punishment by death which was common among all ancient civilizations was made a public spectacle. Crowds would gather to observe executions by boiling in oil, flaying alive, stoning, or impaling. In the 1700s, England had over two hundred offenses that could have been punishable by death. However, since the 1800s most death sentences have been a result of a conviction of murder. The United States Supreme Court, in 1972, decided the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment and concluded that capital punishment violated the eighth and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution. This decision did leave open the possibility, however, that execution may be constitutional for certain crimes, such as murder or rape. Many states have passed laws that limit the death penalty to those who commit murder and other specific crimes. Unlike the methods of ancient societies, today's methods of execution are relatively quick and painless. The most common forms of execution today are the electric chair, lethal injection, and the gas chamber. Although in some cases capital punishment does deter crime, it should be illegal because the consequences of legalizing capital punishment are far too great.
Many proponents of capital punishment argue that it should be legal. They maintain the belief that it is a strong deterrent of crime. Threatening death, they maintain, will have a greater effect on the behavior of that criminal than any other threat. Many criminals, just like the rest of society, do not want to die. Although life in prison may not be the most comfortable way of living, it is still life. Death is thought to be the best deterrent of crime because of the belief that people fear death more than anything else. Fewer people will murder in areas that have adopted the death penalty. One idea behind capital punishment is that it reduces the th…

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