Friday, February 22, 2013

Death Penalty

My blog post is in response to the post by student Jinwon Pyo.  To kill, or not to kill?  That is the question.  Would executing an individual prove to be of more overall benefit than permanent imprisonment?  There are moral standards to regard, but given the wide variance of opinion, consideration in that aspect will, for the most part, be ignored.  In order to define “better’ or “worse,” black and white data will be used.

First aspect to study: does the death penalty kill criminals?  Certainly.  Are all executed peoples criminals?  No.  Just as a single person’s ability to judge is never perfect, neither is an assembly of peers’ judgment always accurate.  America has declared several past executions as “wrongful executions” of innocent peoples.  Criminal law bears the Blackstone’s Formulation, which is the principle of, “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”  With this mantra in mind, execution disregards this law by not only harming, but killing bystanders and sparing criminals without a failsafe method of determining guilt.

Second aspect to study: what are the benefits of capital punishment?  Financially, none.  Holding a person in maximum security for life is actually cheaper than the expenses placed into finalizing capital punishment.  Does capital punishment prevent crimes or ward off offenders from killing?  There has been no official evidence of decreased crime rates post-execution, nor do officials deem any correlation to the act.

Perhaps this might tread upon the line of morality, but focusing on the accused’s position, is death a preferable punishment to life reformation?  Well, firstly, what is a punishment?  It is not the platitude of “an-eye-for-an-eye.”  That is, rather, revenge, which many seek as a comfort for loss from one convicted of a “death deserving” crime.  A punishment is the consequence of a negative action that deters the offender from committing the act again and teaches why such an action was wrong.  Does an executed individual learn from his or her crime?  Does an executed individual receive a punishment that fits the deed?  No.  A life cannot be traded for a life.  The relatively short time spent in death row is not a suitable response to what an individual’s wrongful actions.  Rather, a lifetime of imprisonment converts the prisoner’s life into one constantly reflected in the permanence of his or her crimes.'s_formulation

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