Death Penalty in the United States and Nationwide
Capital punishment has been present in some form or the other since the beginning of history. Capital offences, usually included crimes against a state, for instance, treason, cowardice or mutiny. The purpose of capital punishment is actually education en masse, where an example is set in the society to the consequences of offences being committed; an attempt to deter crime.
There has been a marked decline in support of capital punishment amongst the people in the U.S., but there’s a majority which still believes it is a vital mean of curbing criminal activity. Although facts suggest, that abolitionism has worked out in favor of the society in general, the U.S. Government, still insists on capital punishment being conducted nationwide for criminal offences
. Executions in the U.S. are a major portion of executions being conducted in the entire world. Capital punishment was reinstated in 1977 in the U.S., and it has been over 30 years, but the crime rates are still the same almost in the entire U.S. An average of one prisoner being executed in every 9-10 days, SHOULD ultimately have been accounted for a drop in crime rates. It is this situation, which has resulted in a sharp decline in support for capital punishment amongst the general public. On top of this lack of faith; today, the advancement in technology has resulted in many cases being overturned and evidences which were previously considered to hold weight, being rendered insufficient. Richard C. Dieter, Executive Director at the Death Penalty Information center writes:
Other recent studies have confirmed that many who have been convicted of capital crimes, and even some who have been executed, were innocent. In their recent book, In Spite of Innocence, the authors discuss over 400 cases in which the defendant was wrongly convicted of a crime punishable by death. At least 23 cases have resulted in the execution of innocent people. The Supreme Court did little to dispel people's doubts with its recent ruling that new claims of innocence are almost never reviewable by the federal courts through habeas corpus petitions.
Therefore, there’s a general consensus that the current system concerning capital punishment is not as efficient and competent as it should be, considering its importance.
It is not hard to guess, that capital punishment has failed to meet its objectives, and alternative ways to curb crime rates, should be looked into. Capital punishment should not be abolished, but should be used in extreme situations where there is a need to set an example. In other situations, punishments should be given for the purpose of educating criminals against crime and not just to establish a sense of the upper hand of justice, which doesn’t deter crime, but only results in radicalizing criminals and resulting in them being more rebellious at the end of their sentence. Offenders, who profusely commit crimes of extreme nature, even after serving sentence in prison or while their stay in prison; such people should be put through stringent methods in order to check their mental health, before being executed. There should also be a considerable number of seasoned medical personnel who are expert in dealing with cases regarding mental health. This would overtime prove very beneficial as with this technique, crime itself would be cut at its root.
It is very important that juvenile prisons be given special attention, because these places often serve as breeding grounds for the ‘to-be-criminal-tycoons’. Alliances are formed, and at an age where people are easily influenced, these ‘potential minors’ are recommended to a more ‘professional’ world. While juvenile cases should be more hard-line, immense care should be taken that the sentence of those cases should not be hard-lined, because a minute mistake in judging or in sentencing a juvenile makes the difference of preparing a responsible citizen, or a more aggressive criminal. Today, when the power of media prevails, we have to be very careful, because we have seen gangsters like Pablo Escobar being made celebrities.
If the youth is exposed to such strict forms of punishment, our measures to limit crimes in youth just might backfire, because the influence of ‘criminal icons’ in the youth today is already alarming.