Running Head: Death Penalty 1
Death Penalty 6
May 23, 2021
The death penalty, also sometimes denoted to as capital punishment, involves executing a lawbreaker by death sentencing conviction by a law court for a criminal offense. Capital crimes that could lead to the death penalty of an individual include treason, arson, rape, and murder. The death penalty is executed through various means, including electrocution, lethal injection, a gas chamber, and a firing squad. There has been moral debate surrounding the execution of individuals through the death penalty going around for a long time because some people argue that it is inhumane while others think that it is the proper method to mitigate the prevalence of crime in society.
Defenders of the death penalty argue that the community has a moral obligation to protect and ensure the welfare of its citizens. Therefore capital offenders threaten the safety and welfare of individuals in society, and the only way to ensure capital offenders do not commit offenses again is to put them to death. Additionally, those favoring the death penalty argue that society should only support the practices to balance good and evil and include the death penalty. The penalty is regarded as a benefit to the community because it deters violent crime (Garrett, 20170. The rationale behind this is that when individuals think about the death penalty as a consequence of committing an offense, they will be unwilling to participle in any criminal offenses. The proposers, therefore, argue that if the death penalty is not upheld, society puts the lives of innocent individuals at risk, especially those who have suffered under the hands of these criminals.
Those upholding the death sentence as morally right argue that to bring justice to a victim, it is required that the individual convicted of the heinous crime be sentenced to death. Justice is an element that ensures equal treatment for everyone; therefore, according to the opponents, it is unjust when a criminal inflicts more significant losses on a victim than they have to bear as a consequence. If criminals do not receive more significant losses than those they inflicted on their victims, society would favor criminals and allow them to get away with lesser consequences, therefore giving them a chance to re-offend.
On the other hand, those opposing the death penalty argue that although society is morally obligated to protect the lives of individuals, it is morally wrong to take individual’s lives. Since life is valuable for everyone, society is bound to reduce suffering and pain whenever possible. Therefore, justice should resolve to less severe consequences that will accomplish the same goal. Alternative include rehabilitation for capital crime offenders. They also argue that there is no substantiation supporting the claim that the death penalty I more effective in deterring violent crimes. The death penalty is not a requirement for protecting the public from offenders who may strike again; instead, options such as life imprisonment offer the same benefit.
The death penalty also risks executing innocent individuals who have been wrongly convicted by courts (Waldo, & Myers, 2019). Moreover, the death penalty hurts society because it makes the value of life appear cheap by allowing the state to execute some of its citizens, therefore, legitimatizing the action of taking lives. Some moral judgments concerning the issue are grounded on religion in which some faiths believe only the almighty can give and take away life (Bones, & Sabriseilabi, 2018). Therefore deem the activity unjust because all lives should be treated equally, and the death penalty should not be practiced in society.
An ethical egoist would support the death penalty and view it as a moral practice. They hold the belief that all personal conduct has motivation. They hold the opinion that the primary reason for individuals to commit crimes is self-interest. Therefore, they argue that because offenders commit crimes for their benefit, they are ready to face consequences that support their claim for the death penalty. In this issue, there is no conflict between loyalty to self and the community.
A social contract ethicist would support the death penalty as a moral practice. This is because they believe individuals give up some freedoms and liberties to focus on self-preservation and protection. According to social contract ethicists, a single authority is vested with the power to completely rule in enforcing the law in which no one should resist. Additionally, they believe that they are naturally self-interested but reasonable and rational at the same time, which is why they would support the death penalty. If an individual goes against the law, they need to be punished in the best interest of individuals. Since individuals give up certain liberties to protect their rights, life has to be executed to protect society if necessary.
Professionals involved in death penalties include physicians and other healthcare professionals. Code of ethics surrounding physicians is their participation in execution by directly causing deaths of condemned persons through procedures such as lethal injection, assisting and contributing to the ability of other persons to cause the end of an individual directly, and witnessing the execution of an individual on the unprofessional capacity (AMA, n.d). Physicians are also involved in the death certification of individuals if other individuals confirm the death of an executed person. There is an existing conflict between professional and familial duties relevant to the death penalty of convicted individuals. Professionalism calls for adherence to any responsibilities required for a healthcare professional in the death penalty, including carrying out injections and monitoring activities of an individual under execution, while the healthcare professional’s familial duties might be against the concept of the death penalty.
In conclusion, the moral deliberation surrounding the death penalty has existed for a long time. Proposers argue it is necessary to reduce the possibility of an offender committing crimes again. In contrast, opponents argue that society has to protect life instead of taking and the judicial systems should employ other alternatives such as life imprisonment. Different ethical points of view are provided for the death penalty, while healthcare professionals have a code of ethics related to the death penalty and their professional duties differ from familial responsibilities.
AMA. (n.d). Ethics: Capital Punishment. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/capital-punishment
Bones, P. D., & Sabriseilabi, S. (2018). Sinners in the hands of an angry God: An exploration of religious forces on support for the death penalty. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 57(4), 707-722.
Garrett, B. (2017). End of its Rope: How killing the death penalty can revive criminal justice. Harvard University Press.
Waldo, G. P., & Myers, W. (2019). Criminological research and the death penalty: has research by criminologists impacted capital punishment practices? American journal of criminal justice, 44(4), 536-580.