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Death Penalty Abolition: Why It Is Needed?


Death punishment is a form of capital punishment in which a person who is convicted of having committed a crime or an offence is sentenced to death. Many a time death penalty or what is famously referred to as capital punishment is referenced to as a death sentence (Curtis 9). In such case, the convict is executed or killed. Mostly, individuals who are sentenced to death are the ones who have been found guilty or rather convicted of committing capital offences such as murder, robbery with violence, hardcore drugs holder among others. However, the extent of offences that amounts to capital punishment may vary from one country to another depending on the specifications of the penal code or the decrees of a respective notion on the issue (Douglas13). This paper therefore presents an argument against death penalty and why it should be done away with as a form of punishment for capital offenders.

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Background information

While achievements are made towards doing away with dearth penalties all together, evidence in many countries (as revealed by various researches) indicates that the ‘vice’ is still rampant in many countries all over the world. According to a report released by the United States department of justice’s bureau of justice statistics (3), sixty individual who had been earlier on handed capital punishment were actually killed in 2005 in sixteen various states across the united states of America. Out of the sixty convicts executed, 41 came from the white race while the rest 19 were actually blacks. Out of the sixty, 59 convicts were males and one female, all of whom were killed using a deadly injection. According to the latter, close to 38 states in the United States as well as the federal government still held dearth penalty decrees as recent as 2005. The reports revealed that the whole of the United States has more than 3300 inmates who have been sentenced to death and waiting execution; a fact that does not auger well with the American humanitarian organizations and the world as a whole.

Arguments for abolition of death penalty

Although the pro death punishment argues that the latter is an effective way of preventing capital offences through absolute elimination of these offenders, it is less costly to the government than life imprisonment, reduces the rate of crime through instilling fear in the criminals, and scores in terms of retribution among other arguments. Its critics allover the world argues that it is not a good form of punishing capital offenders as seen from an ethical, religious and legal point of view (Joe 12). Ethically, critics argue that the death sentence brings a lot of emotional suffering not only to the convict but also to the family relatives and close friends (Curtis 10).

According to Joe (13), religious groups say that death penalty contravenes the Holy Scripture terming it as murder, ungodly and totally unacceptable by the society. Human right organizations and other humanitarian movements on their part argue that death punishment denies an individual’s right to life terming it as an exercise whose times were long gone. While the pro-abolitionists argues that capital punishment is not an effective means of deterring crimes, cases in countries such as Britain and Texas indicate that the crime rate (especially which constituted capital offences) increased significantly after the abolition of death penalty (Curtis 16). However, abolitionists argued that the increase was not a direct result of the abolition but there were other underlying factors responsible for the increase. However, recent researches indicate that death penalty was not an efficient way of curbing capital crimes.

In a research published in Curtis (3), and which aimed at finding out the impact of capital punishment on crime rates in six states in the United States, it was found out that the latter was not a deterrent capital crime. It was also found that a lot of prejudices surrounded the conviction and affliction of death penalty on an individual. For instance in the United States, it was found out that by virtue of an individual being a non- American or a black he or she had a higher chance of being sentenced to death than if the convict was white. In addition, individuals from poor background had a higher chance of being afflicted with a death penalty than those either on middle class or the rich. According to the latter, errors in the trial process coupled with such prejudices and biases often led to wrongful conviction and affliction of death sentence, hence killing of an innocent person. This is both unjust and irreversible; an act that cannot be compensated.

In a series of investigative articles for Chicago tribune, it was found out that flawed process in the laboratory testing (DNA) usually contributed to wrong conviction and affliction of death penalties to innocent people in several states. In 2004 for instance, more that 2000 convicts on the death row were actually found innocent and acquitted after the DNA testing was redone (Curtis 13)

Death punishment to a greater extent weakens the society. The latter argues that death penalty kills a criminal without giving him a chance of reforming and coming back to the society; the latter of which could be more useful to the society. Just like criminals plan and executes their ill act, the government via the execution of the death penalty commits murder which was not a lesser crime than that committed by the conflict (Douglas 16).

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While the government argues that death penalty is a humane way of eliminating capital crime offenders, abolitionists argue that death punishment should be done away with and other form of punitive measures adopted irrespective of the intensity of the crime committed (Joe 11). Equating death penalty to being diagnosed with terminal illness, the latter stated that it was better to be placed on an alert of imminent death by the doctors’ verdict than to face a judge’s affliction of a death penalty which is brutal, ruthless and unjust.


Death punishment is a form of punishment in which individuals convicted of capital offences are sentenced to death. While pro death penalty argues that it can be used to curb crime, saves government costs, reduces jails congestions, contributes to retribution, among others, various humanitarian, religious and pre-human right groups have come out strongly against this form of punishment, arguing that it is ungodly, unethical, contravenes individuals human rights, put the innocents family members, relatives and friends through unnecessary human suffering among others. In addition, death penalty is unfair especially if an innocent person is handed a death sentence due to the flaws in the trial process since death is irreversible. As a result death punishment should be done away with and instead replaced by a more humane form of punishing criminals irrespective of the intensity of the offence.

Works Cited

Curtis, J. “The Capital Punishment Controversy:” The Argument for and against Death Penalty. 2004. Web.

Douglas, A. Berman. “Punishment and Sentencing: Argument For and Against Death Penalty”: Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, 2007.

Joe, M. “Should the Death Penalty Be abolished as a Form of Punishment? In A Nut Shell” 2009. Web.

“The United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics”: Death Row Conflicts in the United States Annual Report. 2009. Web. 

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