"An eye for eye, a tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21: 24). The ancient biblical quote that the concept of capital punishment is originally based upon. The taking of ones eye for another's, or, in many of today's societies, the taking of ones life in return for taking someone else's. The Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus defines capital punishment as "The punishment of death for a crime" (Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus 1998, pg. 144), and while this form of punishment is not present in Australia, there is much debate and controversy over whether or not this penalty should be reinstated.
Capital Punishment was abolished from all Australian states by the year 1985 (Appendix 1), however it is still practised in many other countries around the world. The death penalty exists in 39 of the United States of America, most of Africa, many countries in Europe, most countries in Asia, and most of the Middle East. A total of 95 countries worldwide retain the death penalty, while 57 have abolished it. The question can then be raised as to why, when so many Western countries still keep hold of capital punishment, Australia does not still use this form of punishment against crime.
The three main purposes of any punishment against any crime, is to rehabilitate, deter, and to provide retribution for the wrongdoings of the criminal. To decide on whether or not capital punishment should be introduced back into Australia, these three aspects must be considered. .
To deter a crime is to prevent a criminal from carrying out that same crime again. The theory behind this is that if an offender is given an appropriate sentence, than this will prevent that offender from committing similar crimes in the future, as well as persuading others who are contemplating committing that crime not to do so. When considering whether or not capital punishment is worthwhile as a punishment, the theory of deterrence must be looked at.