Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty
Capital punishment is the legal infliction of death by the state. It is obviously the most severe form of criminal punishment (Bedau 1). Capital punishment is a controversial way of dealing with violent criminals. The main alternative to the death penalty is life in prison. Capital punishment has been around for thousands of years as a means of eradicating criminals. The supporters claim that if you take a life you should pay with your life or "an eye for an eye". Opposers of the death penalty bring up the chance of sentencing the innocent and how the death penalty is inhumane. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the evolution and process of the death penalty.
Thefirst evidence of capital punishment is from Hammurabi's code, a book of Babylonian law, from 1700BC. The Bible mentions that execution should be used for many crimes (Bedau 1). One example of the death penalty in the bible is "Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:12) The bible also suggests stoning a woman if she unmarried sex and had "wrought folly on Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house" (Deuteronomy 22:21)
By the end of the 15th century England recognized seven major crimes that called for execution. These crimes were: murder, theft (by deceitfully taking someone goods), burglary, rape, and arson. As time went by, more and more crimes were believed to deserve the death penalty, and, by 1800, more than 200 crimes were recognized as punishable by death (Bedau 2).
However, It was not long before capital punishment met with opposition. The Quakers made thefirst movement against execution. They supported life imprisonment as a more humane justice. Cesare Beccaria wrote On Crimes and Punishment, a book criticizing torture and the death penalty, in 1764. Cesare drove many other philosophers like Voltaire and Jerry Bentham to question …

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