Moral aspects of death penalty

Perjury in capital cases Deuteronomy Both reward and punishment are seen as properly taking place in eternity, rather than in this life.

Moral aspects of death penalty

From an ethical perspective, many of the arguments for and against the death penalty are missing a consideration of key issues. Criminologists consider that the major reasons for criminal penalties are rehabilitation reforming the prisoner to be a better citizenincapacitation preventing the prisoner from committing other crimesdeterrence discouraging the prisoner and others from further crime and retribution society punishing the prisoner as vengeance for a criminal act.

Rehabilitation and incapacitation can be achieved through appropriately lengthy jail sentences. The only reasons that could possibly be offered in support of a death penalty are deterrence and retribution.

What keeps us going

However, the large majority of experts consider that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting the contention that the death penalty deters criminal behaviour. Consider whether people would advocate retribution in a hypothetical situation.

At the same time, a DNA test links your patient to the violent deaths and rapes of your closest friends. Yet some people might still consider that retribution, through capital punishment, is desirable, despite its unjustness.

What would we want to happen if, instead, each of us were the patient? This hypothetical situation is not unrealistic, because many people and cultures consider it acceptable to kill people against their will. Many religions teach that their gods or deities of choice have killed many others, through great floods, the Passover death of newborn infantsand much general smiting done without presumptions of innocence and trials.

Many people believe that these religious teachings are good.

BBC - Ethics: Capital punishment

Over time, these beliefs have manifested themselves in many legal systems. Indeed, the four most populous countries, China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia, have the death penalty on their statute books.

There are some exceptions to this of course, self defence being the most notable. According to this principle the death penalty would be forbidden. The state, as a collective of individuals, should not generally have moral rights that individuals do not have.


Modern societies recognise that prisoners should be treated humanely, consistent with human rights obligations. Some criminals do commit horrific crimes, but capital punishment, torture, or mistreatment of prisoners serves no utilitarian purpose and signals, wrongly, that violence can solve problems.

An eye for an eye society is one that is of years gone by, and unsuited to a modern civilised society. It seems clear then that any countries that want to take the moral high ground and campaign against capital punishment for their nationals who have committed crimes in other countries should abide by some rules.

First, they should not have the death penalty on their own statute books.

Moral aspects of death penalty

That would be hypocritical. Second, they must not consider that killing some people is acceptable according to some of their belief systems. Third, they should not campaign against capital punishment only for their citizens. In moral matters, what is right for one nationality ought to be right for people of other nationalities.The second question is moral.

Even if the death penalty deterred crime more successfully than life imprisonment, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be justified. The Death Penalty. There are two aspects of the question: Should the state have a death penalty?

The first is ethical: "Is it moral to execute guilty criminals?"The second is epistemological: "What should be the burden of proof for capital cases?"In order to support the Death Penalty, it must be moral to execute criminals and the burden of .

Nov 20,  · The fact is that the death penalty, like limb-chopping or stoning, is a morally outrageous practice whatever its deterrent effect: it reduces society to the ethical level of the murderer.

About men, women, and teenagers currently wait on America's "death row." Their time grows shorter as federal and state courts increasingly ratify death penalty laws, allowing executions to proceed at an accelerated rate.

Jun 22,  · A breakdown of the arguments given in favour of abolishing (or against reintroducing) the death penalty. Nov 20,  · The death penalty increases the murder rate, because it necessitates allocation of limited tax dollars to execution while cutting basic social and mental health services.

Marilyn Ozer Chapel Hill.

Death penalty: is capital punishment morally justified?