Capital punishment has long been a topic of great debate in our society. In this paper I will discuss the history of punishment in society that lead to the use of capital punishment. In addition, I will also present evidence that shows that there is racial and socioeconomic disparity, in the application of capital punishment within our legal system. I will look at theories of deterrence, retribution, and just deserts, and analyze the deterrent effect that statistics show capital punishment has on our society. Evidence will show that there is not enough data to support the finding that capital punishment significantly deters crime in our society.
The Effects of Capital Punishment on Crime Deterrence.
The topic of capital punishment is one of the most frequently debated topics in our criminal justice field. Many people believe that discussions regarding capital punishment are really discussions of the moral values of our society (Banks, 2013). Society has a variety of motives for their beliefs about capital punishment. These motives range from the beliefs on issues of deterrence, to religious beliefs, to errors in application of capital punishment (p. 117). While researching this topic, it seems there is more evidence to support those who believe in capital punishment. Because there are inconsistencies in the application of capital punishment, I question if it is something that society can whole-heartedly support however, I am not to the point that I believe research shows that we should abolish capital punishment all together.
The History of Punishment.
Throughout history, we have developed many beliefs about punishment. Banks (2013) states that punishment can be defined in different ways and states that punishment imposed as a sanction for criminal acts and consists of five elements:.
1. It is unpleasant to the victim.
2. It is for an offense, actual or supposed.
3. It is for an offender, actual or supposed.