Essay on Is Capital Punishment Ever Justified?

Published: 2021/11/15
Number of words: 1178


The punishment handed out by the state to an individual in the form of execution for committing a particular offense is normally referred to as capital punishment. Gas chambers, electrocution, hanging and lethal injection are some of the techniques used by various states in the implementation of capital punishment over the years (Steiker & Steiker 246). Are there any instances where there is a justification for capital punishment? This is the big question that has been the subject of heated debates the world over. For a long time, controversies have been associated with the death penalty as a form of punishment. There are dissenting voices with regard to this form of punishment. These voices argue that an individual’s right to life is inalienable and it is infringed upon when the ‘immoral’ death sentence is passed against a person. In the same breath, the Universal Declaration of Human rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 (Cooke et al. 231). The treaty sought to foster peace, justice, and freedom globally as fundamental rights among nations. At the very least, capital punishment should be adopted to motivate deterrence to crime.

Justification of capital punishment

It is immoral for a country not to take the life of a murderer as posited by Immanuel Kant, a deontologist. The loss of the victim is mourned and suffered by most people while happiness is only experienced by the perpetrator of the crime (Kovarsky 259). Thus, the greater good was disregarded in committing the crime and the victim was used as a means. Justice will have been seen as being served for the greater good if the murderer was to be executed. Morally acceptable behavior in society is exemplified by the punishment that befits the crime committed.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order

Criminals are deterred from committing crimes in the future if there is a possibility of capital punishment in the event they are apprehended. A crime’s consequences and gains determine if individuals will violate or obey laws. If a would-be perpetrator of a crime is aware that he/she is going to get a slap on the wrist for committing a particular crime, then what would stop him from going ahead with it? Lenient laws would breed an unprecedented number of criminals who are not afraid of the consequences that come with wrongdoing (Sarat et al. 757). However, it is also unjust if the severity of the punishment does not match the crime committed. Of utmost importance is that a would-be criminal will weigh the consequences of his/her actions versus the gains that he/she seeks to achieve. Criminal acts would be deterred if capital punishment could come into the picture upon apprehension.

All crimes do not befit capital punishment. A humane way should be devised to expedite capital punishment and the crime committed should be proportionate to the death penalty. Committing a crime should be the sole reason behind why a perpetrator is given the death penalty and not because of revenge despite the fact that humanity was not employed by the criminal in executing his/her victim(s).

I am in concurrence with the opinion of Kant that an individual should be punished by the state using the authority bestowed upon it by the citizens of the nation. Other countries and states play host to criminals who run away from justice after committing heinous crimes against their fellow countrymen. The United States requires the extradition of these criminals back to the country in order to prefer charges against them (Levine 83). The lives of would-be future victims will be saved if the guilty parties are condemned to death by the government in a swift manner to protect the innocents from criminal acts.

Atop the list of the most priced and sacred possessions is life. The pursuit of happiness, liberty, and life is promised to the citizens of the United States. The people’s rights need to be protected as an obligation of the government. It was acceptable to sentence someone to death in the eyes of the framers of the constitution. The victim of a crime must be accorded justice and the other members of the society must be duly protected by the government in the event life is deliberately ended. In no way, shape, or form can revenge be equated to justice. Malicious and inhumane methods are utilized when inflicting harm or suffering to a person when carrying out revenge while the administration of justice is humane.

Guillotines, gas chambers, and firing squads were some of the forms of capital punishment that were being practiced in the United States. The performance of the executions in the past was barbaric and as such these methods are no longer in use today. Execution of inmates has veered away from the aforementioned methods and acceptable forms have been devised owing to the increase of respect for human life (Steiker & Steiker 247). A commonly practiced form of execution in the United States is lethal injection despite the cruel and brutal nature of the originally used methods. One high dose of a drug or a series of administered drugs characterize a lethal injection. The effectiveness and lack of torture are the attributes that make lethal injection not to be viewed as unorthodox and brutal.

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

In lethal injection, there is an intravenous administration of drugs. A lethal injection follows three critical steps before a person dies. Firstly, sleep is induced; secondly, breathing is stifled when the muscle system is paralyzed and thirdly, the heartbeat is halted by the final injection. In contrast, one large dose of the injection is preferred in some states which behaves the same way as the series of drugs in principle (Sarat et al. 757). The most important thing is that the whole process is devoid of any torture or suffering for the inmate and a more morally acceptable and humane method is adopted despite the number of doses administered.


Provision of justice, deterrence of crime, and saving of lives are the benefits that accrue as a result of capital punishment. Justice must be sought in the event of any wrongdoing by invoking the state’s authority to intervene and make sure that the pursuance of happiness and ability to live is not compromised.

Works Cited

Cooke, Brian K., Dominque Delalot, and Tonia L. Werner. “Hall v. Florida: Capital punishment, IQ, and persons with intellectual disabilities.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online 43.2 (2015): 230-234.

Kovarsky, Lee. “Muscle memory and the local concentration of capital punishment.” Duke LJ 66 (2016): 259.

Levine, Samuel J. “5. Capital Punishment in Jewish Law and Its Application to the American Legal System: A Conceptual Overview.” Jewish Law and American Law, Volume 1 (2018): 83-98.

Sarat, Austin, et al. “The rhetoric of abolition: continuity and change in the struggle against America’s death penalty, 1900-2010.” J. Crim. L. & Criminology 107 (2017): 757.

Steiker, Carol S., and Jordan M. Steiker. “The American death penalty and the (in) visibility of race.” The University of Chicago Law Review (2015): 243-294.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055