Should the death penalty still be considered a viable form of punishment?

The author discusses whether the death penalty should be universally illegal and if reform is even possible.

Sadif Rahman
19th February 2024
World Coalition Against the Death Penalty_wikimediacommons
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is the judicial process of killing someone as a consequence of committing a heinous crime. This process has existed for centuries, if not longer, and the ethics and utility of it has not been seriously debated until recent times.

The primary goal of a legal verdict on the consequence of a criminal's actions is justice, restricted by a humanitarian code of ethics. Torture was once a legally justified system of consequence, which is now considered immoral. Similarly, it is being argued that the death penalty is redundant as it adds no value to the world.

An article in the Hofstra Law Report states how treatment will almost every time not result in betterment.

The most commonly offered alternative is rehabilitation. The concept of different modes of counseling and therapy being used as a correctional method might seem too good to be true- and that's because it is. Whilst the media might glorify one or two criminals who come out of rehabilitation better, the grim reality is that rehabilitation seldom works in removing criminal tendencies. An article in the Hofstra Law Report states how treatment will almost every time not result in betterment. A small fraction of criminals may deescalate their crimes or reduce the frequency, but the likelihood of removing criminal behavior from their psychology is nearly zero.

criminals from countries like Norway, where the maximum punishment for any crime is 21 years in prison, take advantage of the lack of repercussions.

Similar studies also expose the ineffectiveness of the criminal system. Imprisonment is the weakest form of rehabilitation, and it hardly ever ends in reform. Rather, criminals from countries like Norway, where the maximum punishment for any crime is 21 years in prison, take advantage of the lack of repercussions.

It could be argued to consider the death penalty on a case-by-case basis for prisoners, after attempting rehabilitation but that raises an issue of morality. No human being should be able to dictate whether another deserves death or not. Hence, legal parameters must be established to make the consequences apparent and explicit.

In an ideal world, every prisoner is provided with as much rehabilitation as required. However, the reality is that not only can most developing countries not afford to allocate resources there, but this system simply lacks effectiveness. There is a direct inverse correlation between crime rates and legal repercussions for them. Legally, there needs to be a set minimum level of offense that determines a criminal to be worthy of capital punishment.

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