Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty Essay
Each year there are about 250 people added to death row and 35 executed. The death penalty is the most severe form of punishment enforced in the United Sates today. Once a jury has convicted a criminal of an offense they go to the second part of the trial, the punishment phase. If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees, then the criminal will face some form of execution. Lethal injection is the most common form used today. There was a period from 1972 to 1976 that capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The reason for this decision was that the death penalty was deemed cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment . The decision was reversed when new methods of execution were introduced. "The fundamental theory of punishment is that it is used for deterrence, for retribution and for reformation, and in the case of capital punishment there is a further basis urged for its retention-the need of eliminating those who menace the life and security of society." Capital punishment is a difficult issue and there are many different opinions such as its deterrent value, the religious aspect, the safeguards against killing an innocent individual, the suffering of the family of the executed, the inequality of its utilization, and the economics of the death penalty.
Fear of death deters people from committing crimes, proponents say. They also believe that if attached to certain crimes, the…