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Capital punishment originates from the Latin utterance capitalism, which literally refers to a death sentence. This form of punishment is mostly implemented for crimes that are denoted as capital offenses. Different nations of the globe apply this form of punishment while some have adopted other humane forms of punishment. According to Ernest van den Haag, a celebrated debater with regard to the death penalty, capital punishment is an essential means of discouraging criminal behaviors. He posits that when individuals are aware of severe punishments, they stand to get from committing unlawful activities, they more often than not restrain from doing so. Consequently, Larry Tifft with regard to the deterrence theory supports Ernest Haag’s arguments. These arguments form the basis for discussion in this paper. They provide an essential foundation for evaluating the effectiveness and necessity of implementing capital punishment in general. Despite the harsh assessment presented by different individuals of the severity of this form of punishment, it seems relevant and recommendable especially in the search for eradicating criminal actions in the society.
Overall, society today is marred by increasing violent and criminal activities. The government generally has a responsibility of ensuring that the citizens are safe while making certain that law offenders are adequately punished. Confusion arises on what is the most effective means of ensuring that law offenders are punished accordingly. Haag argues that capital punishment is basically essential for saving innocent individuals from harm. In this argument, he acknowledges that whereas law offenders often tend to recommit crimes which may harm the innocent, the government needs to establish an effective means of ensuring that this is minimized and essentially provide other individuals with protection. Thus, to protect the later, capital punishment should be implemented. Similar to Larry Tifft’s perception, the two agree that deterrence is the mst effective action that can ensure reduced crime rates in the society in general.
The deterrence theory generally posits that individuals tend to weigh their options similar to the concept of cost-effect before they abide by the law or break it alternatively. If one stands to achieve more satisfaction from a crime act, they are evidently capable of committing the crime; alternatively, if they stand to lose more, they are more likely to desist from the crime. In this, an individual is considered to have the freedom to choose what action to take. This concept presents a basic manner of evaluating the form of punishment to be effected on the crime committed. Tifft argues that for there to be minimal capital crimes, the government should design punishments that are greater than the satisfaction that individuals engaging in such activities obtain from their actions. There are two basic categories that have been presented for deterrence. First is the general deterrence, which posits that to minimize criminal actions, a law offender should be punished by the society to discourage others from engaging in unlawful activities. Second is the specific deterrence, which posits that for crime to be minimized, individual offenders should be given severe punishments which would discourage them from engaging in similar activities later in the future. These two forms of deterrence provide distinct ways of protecting the innocent as well as punishing the law offenders. However, the two aspects do not present an effective means of minimizing crime.
To begin with, when one is punished publicly for committing a crime, instead of discouraging the public from engaging in such behavior, this may be denoted as a way of gaining fame from the society. In most cases, young people tend to uphold individuals engaging in criminal activities. At times, they even take up to their actions and challenge themselves to be like the offenders. On the other hand, while giving severe punishments may be considered as a way of discouraging the offfender from recommitting the crime, some individuals may even turn to engage in more adverse criminal behavior to see what would happen next. It is not thus effective to consider that revealing the offender’s actions to the public will help to solve the increase of criminal activities. Consequently, giving the offenders severe punishments may also turn to be a way of challenging them to engage in other adverse behaviors.
The most appropriate action for this would be capital punishment. This is because capital punishment, though considered a harsh manner of punishment, is noted to be the most effective in discouraging criminal actions. When law offenders as well as individuals seeking to engage in crime are made aware of a punishment that will lead to them losing their lives, they are more likely to desist from engaging in crime. Capital punishment poses a threat for the law offenders and will thus ensure that crime rates are reduced. This is because regarding the cost-effect concept, an offender is more likely to choose to save himself rather than engage in an action that will lead to him losing his life. Haag’s argument on capital punishment thus presents a more viable means of eradicating crime.
Overly, the issue of capital punishment appears to draw much interest across various fields. Scholars and government officials alike are trying to evaluate the effectiveness of using this form of punishment to minimize crimes. Haag and Tifft provide different ways of ensuring effective reduction of crime activities. Both scholars acknowledge that deterrence is the most applicable and feasible means of achieving this. However, this method may seek to bring about more challenges than the perceived benefits. Individuals may reform or even turn to be more dangerous. Capital punishment thus seems to be overly effective, because it offers a sufficient means of eradicating such evils in the society.
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