Capital Punishment is in essence taking a human life in exchange for some wrong doing committed by a person that has been deemed to be so offensive to society it warrants the ending of the accuser's life. Capital Punishment is not a simple issue that can easily be judged in black and white non-negotiable terms. There are always two sides to an issue, but capital punishment seems to be a multi-sided topic, that is capable of being assessed and scrutinized in compound ways from multiple viewpoints. Some of the social and monetary costs are obvious, however a closer inspection reveals costs to society that are not easily seen but must not be ignored. There are some people who would look at the death penalty as a necessity, and argue that the benefits to society warrant its continued use. However the other side would point out that there are numerous layers to the issue, some moral and ethical, and that we lose much more than we gain by preserving what could be considered an archaic example of our nations violent past.
Capital Punishment has a history in the United States that includes public executions, accusations of the death penalty being cruel and unusual punishment, protests for and against capital punishment, and most recently numerous findings of errors in convictions resulting in many former death row inmates being released due to proof of their innocence. The United States has seen many execution methods come and go throughout the last hundred years, including hangings, the firing squad, the electric chair, and the gas chamber. Some of these are still options in a few states, but lethal injection has emerged as the preferred execution method throughout most states who exercise their capital punishment rights. .
In colonial times executions were performed in public, and were considered to be an acceptable form of entertainment. We have seen the end of public executions, with the last one being performed in 1936, according to Clear and Cole (2003).