Capital punishment has been around for thousands of years, Throughout time it has evolved to include less and less offenses that result in the death penalty along with more humane ways of carrying out the sentence, But what is in store for the future of this punishment? Only time will tell. Death of a Penalty Since the dawn of the first form of a justice system, the penalty of death has always been around Through the years it has involved many different types of execution from crucifixion, hanging or boiling to the gas chamber, electrocution and lethal injection.
There have been many versions of capital punishment that seem horrific in today’s point of view but were seen as the norm for the time period. Offenses that incorporated the death penalty have also changed drastically over time Throughout history one could be executed for a crime as simple as stealing or even tax evasion, but today it is mostly associated with murder or other heinous crimes.
Dating back as far as the 18‘” Century BC. with the Code of Hammurabi, death was used for 25 different crimes as a deterrent to other offenders As time moved on more and more crimes were added to the list of those punishable by death In the 1700’s A.D,, Great Britain had over 200 crimes that were capital offenses. Although that is a great improvement from the Draconian Code used in the 7‘” Century 30 in which death was the punishment for all crimes (DPIC) The United States has also used the death penalty throughout its entire history with the exclusion of a short moratorium, or cease all, during the 1970’s as a result of the Furman vi Georgia (1972) This resulted in the Supreme Court stopping all executions until new statutes could be written.
Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977 following the outcome of Furman v. Georgia (1972), more restrictions have been placed on the death penalty in the United States. People found to be “mentally retarded” (IQ of 70 or less) cannot be executed as well as juveniles who commit their crime under the age of 16. Also, in order for the death penalty to be given, many circumstances have to be met in the trial. There must be aggravating circumstances involved in the crime such as pre—meditation or committing the crime for a financial gain (DPIC). These are just some of the many restrictions that have been placed on the death penalty since it was reinstated. Although most States use the death penalty, there are quite a few that have completely abolished it as a form of punishment. Countless countries around the world have also stopped using the death penalty either voluntarily or by mandate through the use of International Human Rights Doctrines (DPIC). As of January, 2014, there is currently a 65% approval rating in favor of the death penalty in the United States.
Although not as high as it has ever been, the support of capital punishment is slowly dwindling. With both sides of this argument having good points, it is easy to understand why the people are so up in the air about this controversial issue. Those in favor of the death penalty state that not only is it a good deterrent for other offenders but also that it helps bring closure to victims and their families. One argument from the opposition of capital punishment is that the financial cost of someone sentenced to death is significantly higher (approx. $2.4 million per case) than one who is sentenced to life in prison (Messerli, J), While both sides produce valid points I do not see the death penalty being completely removed from the United States for quite some time.
Even though i personally support the death penalty in today’s modern criminal justice system, eventually I believe that it will be completely removed from not only our country but the entire world As the human race continues to grow and advance both technologically and philosophically, we will come to understand the full value of human life and will discontinue functioning in such barbaric waysr Only through the progression of knowledge and compassion which we have already been doing since the beginning of man can we truly evolve to have what we all desperately want and need, world peace, With the death penalty being around for thousands of years one cannot expect laws to change overnight. With patience and mutual understanding we will follow what we all believe to be the right path and our future will shape itself into what is necessary