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How death penalty can prevent repeat offenders

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 1434 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Sentence to death penalty seldom arises in criminal cases like murder, robbery with violence, forgery amongst others. This paper shall look into: How death penalty can prevent repeat offenders, how it provides justice, how it acts as deterrent when properly implemented, the costs associated to the victims and the offenders; and finally how the long justice process associated with it affect or help the offended.

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Origin of death penalty

This is dated back to 18th century, in the code of king Hammaurabi of Babylon that involved death penalty of 25 different cases. Death penalty was as well part of 14th Century B.C’s Hittite Code, this made death penalty as the punishment for crimes, and such were done through beating, stoning, and burning alive and other crude methods [1] . This was later replaced with hanging. The cases that led to death penalties included marrying a Jew, failure to confess sins and treason; these mainly took place in Britain.

In Britain, this law was reformed due to severity of the death sentence; this took place in1823 to 1837 by allowing a number of offenders free. Britain influenced America to adopt the capital punishment even for the slightest crime like stealing the grapes .Though in US it varied from state to state.

A leading Case of death Penalty

In Clark Circuit Court, a case involving a 23 year old Christian and her 11 month baby. These were allegedly murdered by Zachariah – the husband and the father of the victims. He stuffed the two in a plastic bag. Autopsy revealed the wife was strangled to death and the child died out of suffocation. Meanwhile Zachariah was out on supervised probation on charges of burglary [2] . He admitted to have committed the crime; pled guilty of three counts of murder, and was sentence to life imprisonment with no parole on count, life imprisonment with no parole on count, and 65 years of imprisonment on a fixed term on count.

Death Penalty prevents future offenders or murderers

The society must lead in fighting for the fundamental rights and freedom of people and this include right to life and hence anyone trying to take this away should be capitally punished to avoid those prospecting to commit the same [3] . According to a report by Michigan State University Lab and Death Penalty Information Centre, 2000 -2004.The rates of murders reduces with more convictions of murderers. Though the slow process of justice delays determination of the case affecting the outcome; death penalties need to be fast to be a sure way of deterring the criminals. Ironically, some states do not have death penalties and still record lower criminal cases, but this should not be used as an argument for this vice. This, if allowed for example in the U.S; things can be worst; in that even with death penalties crime rates are still high. Generally, this report concludes that most people fear death and hence death penalty can be used to prevent further criminal acts in the society.

Death Penalty does not prevent future offenders or murderers

In the above report, it is believed that the society isn’t happy with death penalties, and hence its practice may increase the likelihood of more murders. In America, states that do not apply the death penalties have generally lower crime rates including murder cases. Besides, in most European countries and in Canada there are fewer cases of murder compared to the America yet; they do not use the death penalty as the capital punishment for murder. Most of the offenders normally do not consider the death penalty before the actual murder because they commit this out of anger or through drug influence. In America it is reported that most the murder related cases are link to substance abuse. Infact, most states in America have adopted the sentence of life in jail without parole, and hence the offenders will never be released thereby; the security of the society is assured, most of whom tend to settle down in life as prisoners’ and are rarely a threat again to the community, as opposed to death penalty that society perceive to be brutal and in – human.

Alternatives to death penalty

The death penalty has been an issue of great concern among most of the Americans and policymakers have been trying to devise alternatives. The various alternatives have been contested heavily by both the proponents and the opponents. However, there is an overarching concern among most of the America and that the death penalty must be dispensed with and this emanates from both the moral and legal platforms. According to opinion polls carried out in America today there a strong support for the abolition of the death penalty and most of the Americans are advocating for its abolition. The death penalty has been blamed for being used as a tool of racial injustice in the criminal justice system.

Alternatives to death penalty include: life imprisonment without parole and restitution, this is less costly than death sentence an keeps the offender away from the society. Restitution, the prisoner will be working while in jail and all the money made goes back to support the family of the victim. Another solution though, controversial is allowing the offenders after serving the jail term to go back to the society where they continue working in the community to support victims’ family – post-release restitution. Rehabilitation or reformatories can also be put in place, this has been used to reform young offenders under the age of twenty; turning their lives around [4] . It is as well suggested to be applied to reform the older offenders.

Costs of death penalty

Privately appealing a capital offence is expensive and hence the poor may not be able get justice, tax money is also used to keep offenders in jail of whom some may be innocent. Most of the offenders and their relatives suffer emotional stress during the slow justice process [5] . The death penalty is regarded as an excessive to law and is socially and morally degrading.

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Life is regarded extremely sacred in the society, this does not matter how one kills another. Hanging one in name of crime, however much it could be legal sparks debate. The alternative death penalties described in this paper should not be used by offenders as a gap to commit crime. I still recommend stiffer penalties that could help deter further criminal activities.

The rehabilitation and reformation recommendations is a good idea because in most cases under -age offenders involved in such crimes may have acted oblivious of the outcome or accidentally; and hence this opportunity can be used to mould their character other than throwing them to jail; on the contrary , this should not used as a correction tool to adult murderers.

Life imprisonment without parole and restitution may be another noble alternative; but it may present a lop-hole in post-release restitution; where the offenders if not supervised well could revert to their usual criminal act.


This paper has generally discussed death sentence and its results in the society in broader terms. The main issue that, compromises this situation is the enaction of the idea in some countries or states while others do not see it as a good way for correcting a criminal. The option taken by a nation to deter murder should not go against the social ethics or believe; that life is God given.

Both schools of thoughts against or for death penalty; should try to reach a common ground to avoid escalarating criminal activities or increasing mortality rate by; either failing to create measures to curb illegality or hanging the murderers respectively.However one fact stands out from the debate, that the death penalty has failed to achieve the intended results that it was intended to and as a result there is a general need for its complete abolition.


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