Ethics Of Capital Punishment

1098 Words 5 Pages
Capital punishment, otherwise called the death penalty, is when the state puts an individual to death as a way to punish them for a crime. At this time, the United States is the only Western democracy that has not abolished the use of capital punishment. Is using capital punishment for a crime moral? In this paper, I intend to examine this issue by employing utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and care ethics. Drawing on these points of view, I will ultimately make a claim as to whether or not the use of capital punishment is moral. Utilitarian theory maintains that moral actions are ones that lead to a net increase in happiness for the community. Since punishment involves pain, utilitarians will generally only support punishment if it can lead …show more content…
Execution removes the possibility of rehabilitation in criminals, though rehabilitation has been seen in the past. Karla Faye Tucker, for example, was on death row for murdering two people, but while in prison she began to regret what she had done and turned to Christianity. She also got involved with a program through the prison that helped counsel young people and deter them from crime. Even so, Tucker was ultimately executed. From a utilitarian standpoint, her execution would be considered a decrease in happiness, because Tucker had started to do good things. There have also been many instances where innocent people have been placed on death row, and just how many will likely never be known. This, too, adds evil and suffering to the world, because someone has to die for a crime they did not …show more content…
As a nun, Prejean uses Jesus Christ as a role model, and in her article Would Jesus Pull the Switch? she concludes that no, Jesus would not support the death penalty, because he did not lead a life where he responded to hate and violence with more hate and violence. Prejean has a particularly close experience with the death penalty: she was a spiritual advisor for Patrick Sonnier, a man on death row, and she was with him until the moment he was executed. In addition to that, she worked in a black, inner-city area, where she saw how the death penalty was unequally applied to black people. The time she spent involved with Sonnier led Prejean to conclude that the only reason people still support the death penalty is because they do not consider death row inmates as humans like them, and they cannot empathize with them. She thinks that if the violence surrounding the death penalty was more public, people would realize what a terrible thing it was, and call for its abolition. Prejean concludes her article with some of Sonnier’s last words: “but killing me is wrong, too.”

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