The Death Penalty and Its Basic Reasons


The death penalty also known as Capital punishment is the execution of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Ronald (2000) notes that “the execution of criminals and political opponents was used by nearly all societies as a way of punishing crimes and suppressing political dissent, in most countries that practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice”.

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In some countries, sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, sodomy, and incest carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy. In militaries around the world courts, martial have imposed death sentences for offenses such as desertion, cowardice, insubordination, and mutiny. In China, for example, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are also punished by the death penalty.

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Umeche (2007) observes that “The Bible especially in the Old Testament requires the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, including practicing evil sorcery, adultery, homosexual behavior, doing work on Saturday and murder. It even calls for some criminals (e.g. prostitutes who are the daughters of priests) to be tortured to death by being burned alive”. Ronald (2000) argues that “Many people also feel that killing convicted murderers will gratify their need for fairness and/or vengeance. Majority feel that certain crimes are so dreadful that executing the criminal is the only rational response.

A lot of people feel that the death penalty will frighten criminals from killing. However this has not been confirmed though it feels naturally correct for many people. Others feel that by allowing death penalty for the taking of human life the highest value of human life is affirmed. Death penalty should be permissible in that once a convicted murder is executed and buried; there are no further maintenance costs to the state thus the tax payer’s money will be saved from keeping murderers alive in prison”.

The death penalty is the surest way of ensuring that there is no chance that the executed criminal will break out of jail and kill or injure someone. According to Umeche (2007), wrongdoers should be rewarded through death. Allowing them to go scot-free is putting the lives of others at risk. “Just as the individual has the right to safeguard as well as take his life whenever he pleases, the state has the right and duty to take the life of a citizen in order to increase its welfare”.

According to Umeche (2007) abolishing the death penalty will result in increased cases of extrajudicial killings by the survivors of violent crimes and the police. In fact, the knowledge that a ruthless murderer, for instance, would get a life sentence only with the prospect of state pardon may force a victim of an offense or overzealous police to seek retribution outside the law.


Capital punishment is necessary in order for justice to prevail. Capital punishment lowers the murder rate, but its value as retribution alone is a good reason for handing out death sentences. However, most states have completely abolished the use of capital punishment, while some countries allow for capital punishment only in exceptional situations, such as treason committed during wartime. Nevertheless, the death penalty is one of the only fair punishments allowed by the judicial system

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Capital punishment-The death penalty: Basic reasons:pro and anti. Web.

Ronald Stephen (2000). Capital punishment. Web.

Umeche chinedum (2007). Death penalty in Nigeria: An evaluation of the arguments for and against its abolition. Web.

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