Death Penalty For and Against


As the global world progresses, nations form a consensus that certain penal practices may no longer be tolerable. Examples of such practices include slavery, physical torture, and capital punishment. Much progress has been made to end such practices. In fact, many countries have already abolished death penalty as part of the penal code.

Reflectively, more than forty six countries had already abolished death penalty for normal crimes by the year 1986 (Parks 33). Globally, the total number of countries that have abolished the death penalty is about 111 (Guernsey 34). However, such practices have not been completely eliminated from the face of the earth. There are 84 countries that still practice the death penalty. For instance, China has provisions within its laws to execute its citizens found guilty of certain crimes. The same occurs in the United States. This analytical treatise supports the argument that the death penalty should be abolished.

Reasons against the death penalty

Basic human rights as the foundation for abolishment

The capital punishment should be eliminated since it is an infringement of the basic human rights. The abolitionists argue that execution of the death penalty has made the global penal system very complex, especially in the nations considered civilized (Gottfried 25).

They further note that the death penalty violates right to life that is vested in most countries’ constitutions. In 1997, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights authorized a decree that supported elimination of the death penalty as a policy for betterment of human dignity and consistency in exercising the basic human rights (Gottfried 27).

Human dignity and self-respect

Human being has dignity to exist with self-respect which should be a key priority for any government. Moreover, all people are too concerned with how a government would respect persons’ dignity and right. Death penalty never gives a victim possibility to be regretful of his actions. Actually, capital punishment has never treated criminals with a just prospect to recover their deeds.

Besides, there is no tangible proof that the death penalty has been capable to prevent latent victims from performing offensive acts. Thus, mitigating capital punishment as a way to prevent future unlawful acts is likely to be an obvious one-dimension justification for several people (Stearman 19). This should not be the case. Actually, people should look for objective justifications that support every person, even criminal offenders.

Faults in prosecution

Another argument against the death penalty is that, actions are irreparable once committed. Thus, death cannot be reversed and in this perspective, it will be an injustice to sentence an innocent person to death for an offense he/she did not commit (Stearman 23). Such cases can be treated as the prosecution error. There is a higher risk of sentencing an innocent citizen for an offense because of circumstantial evidence. When this happens, the course of justice is reversed to the disadvantage of the innocent ‘offender’.

Through death penalty, the innocent may be denied their right to life. Substantial evidence actually suggests that some of these sentences are injustice in themselves. As noted by Gottfried (2002), more than 80 people have survived death row sentence since the year 1973 after fresh innocence evidence emerged (Gottfried 31). The recurring exonerations through DNA testing and other technologies have indicated that several times the system has come close to executing the wrong person (Garland 25).

The reasons supporting the death penalty


The proponents of the death penalty on minors argue that the death penalty acts as a deterrence to potential offenders. Capital punishment is a deterrent device that discourages from commiting crimes. Actually, before prepearing for a crime, criminals have to perceive possible impacts of their actions because they are aware of what death penalty justifies.

Societies from traditional to contemporary have used punishment to discourage offenders or potential offenders from committing the same criminal act. Since nations are supposed to protect lives of their citizens, it is acceptable to implement the strongest punishment to offenders who take other people’s life irrespective of their age.

The argument is that when a murderer is prosecuted and sentenced to death, potential offenders will have to think over and over before committing the act for the fear of losing their lives. However, death penalties are carried behind walls away from the public and do not actually serve the purpose of deterrence. The death penalty is, therefore, cost-valuable since it is a retribution action in which a victim is punished because of offenses committed (Parks 31).


Capital punishment had been a controversial dispute since ancient era, though, remains a certainty in some countries of the world. Actually, India and other countries still endow death penalty for most terrible and unlawful acts. However, Human Right Advocates have remained persistent to resist against capital punishment in order to restore human dignity. However, some States have embraced the death penalty as an eventual sentence. The death penalty, therefore, should be abolished since the arguments for death penalty do not justify the commission of punishment particularly on minors.

Works Cited

Garland, David. Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, Chicago, Ch: Harvard University Press, 2011. Print.

Gottfried, Ted. The Death Penalty: Justice or Legalized Murder? New York, NY: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002. Print.

Guernsey, Joann. Death Penalty: Fair Solution or Moral Failure? New York, NY: Twenty-First Century Books, 2009. Print.

Parks, Peggy. Does the Death Penalty Deter Crime? Pennsylvania, Pe: Reference point Press Inc, 2009. Print.

Stearman, Kaye. The Debate about the Death Penalty, Alabama, Al: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2007. Print.

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LawBirdie. "Death Penalty For and Against." August 1, 2023.