Capital Punishment: Fair Or Unfair? Essay
1881 Words8 Pages
The most severe form of punishment of all legal sentences is that of death. This is referred to as the death penalty, or “capital punishment”; this is the most severe form of corporal punishment, requiring law enforcement officers to actually kill the offender. It has been banned in numerous countries, in the United States, however an earlier move to eliminate capital punishment has now been reversed and more and more states are resorting to capital punishment for such serious offenses namely murder. “Lex talionis”, mentioned by the Bible encourages “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” mentality, and people have been using it regularly for centuries. We use it in reference to burglary, adultery, and various other situations, although,…show more content…
Four major issues in capital punishment are debated, most aspects of which were touched upon by Seton Hall’s panel discussion on the death penalty. The first issue stands as deterrence. A major purpose of criminal punishment is to conclude future criminal conduct. The deterrence theory suggests that a rational person will avoid criminal behavior if the severity of the punishment outweighs the benefits of the illegal conduct. It is believed that fear of death “deters” people from committing a crime. Most criminals would think twice before committing murder if they knew their own lives were at stake. When attached to certain crimes, the penalty of death exerts a positive moral influence, placing a stigma on certain crimes like manslaughter, which results in attitudes of horror to such acts.
Studies of the deterrent effect of the death penalty have been conducted for several years, with varying results. Most studies have failed to produce evidence that the death penalty deterred murders more effectively then the threat of imprisonment. The reason for this is that few people are executed and so the death penalty is not a satisfactory deterrent. If capital punishment were carried out
Boy One – takes the trouble to see you, the beak, well in advance of the deadline. He clearly explains that, because he has a major music commitment that week - playing in a school concert - he may struggle to meet it. Point noted.
Boy Two – makes no real effort to meet the deadline or explain why he hasn’t handed the essay in on time. He simply shrugs “Haven’t done it” on the due day; his whole demeanour screaming 'couldn’t care less'.
End result? Boy Two is given a detention, a serious sanction, involving loss of free time, for not doing the essay. Boy One is not, on the grounds he made an effort to keep Sir in touch and had a valid reason for not doing the work punctually.
A cut-and-dried case you might assume. Not a bit of it. Boy Two is full of indignation:
“That’s simply not fair, Sir!” he splutters next lesson. “Why should I have a detention, when you never gave one to Bertie?”
The sense of outrage and bitterness lingers for weeks and goes a good way towards poisoning the atmosphere in classes and, more importantly, souring my long term relationship with that particular boy.
Such cases are by no means uncommon. What’s more, other pupils expect their peers to be sanctioned for missing deadlines or breaking rules. They see that as “only fair”. So there’s also the added pressure from the students to deal firmly with offenders. But nail the wrong person, choose the wrong occasion, or allow any shades of grey to creep in and a Pandora’s box of problems is broken open.
The irony is that often it will be you, the teacher, left feeling shamefaced and crestfallen – as if you’re the one who’s done something wrong. Now that really doesn’t seem fair.
The author teaches English at a top independent boarding school @BoardingBeak.
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