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Is capital punishment justifiable? Discuss.

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Capital punishment is based upon the philosophy of “an eye for an eye”. As noted by one of the greatest political figure from India, Mahatma Gandhi “An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind”. Moreover, capital punishment is an inhumane act which is only meant to wreak vengeance. Killing a murderer is not a justice; in fact it is tantamount to committing a new crime. Although criminals cannot be forgiven for their heinous crimes, capital punishment is by no means justifiable.

Hanging, gassing, electrocuting are horrible acts. The fear of waiting for death by means of these dreadful methods is even more horrific. However, in some countries criminals have to await for their fateful death for as long as 10 years even after their execution is finalized by court. So, every day they wake up in the terror of death. This hinders their psychology as well as seriously affect their mental health. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'. When a criminal is killed his human rights are violated. No doubt, he is guilty but wouldn't jail and dungeons be enough for punishment?

Sometimes, many innocent people are sentenced to death because of human errors and/or legal discrepancies. Execution is finalized from the trial, examination of evidences, and so on which allows room for human errors. For instance, in the USA 130 people sentenced to death have been found innocent since 1973 and are released from death row after they received the irrevocable punishment. Many people have been scapegoats in other countries as well. What about the value of life of such victims? What about the mental distress of their family members? Nobody cares. Isn't that beyond tenet to kill somebody for the crime that they have not committed?

Human beings are fallible. They often make mistakes. Some flaws may be too severe to tolerate. Thus, criminals should be given punishment undoubtedly. Imprisonment and other forms of punishment gives them a chance to regret and change. Similarly, engaging them in social activities like cleanliness of temples and public places may give them a positive attitude. But will capital punishment give them a chance to improve? No. Even if they repent of their doings their apology will hold no value in death penalty.

Critics might say that capital punishment deter other criminals to commit brutal crimes. But I disagree. Putting them in prison make perpetrators deprived of love and bliss. The system of imprisonment without parole will obviously dissuade criminals to commit further crimes. Therefore, there is no need to spread fear by murdering the criminals because incarceration is enough to put the waves of terror among the criminals roaming outside.

On the whole capital punishment is not a demand of people today. Many countries are on the verge to abolish death penalty because human beings are sacrosanct and such punishment is against many religions. Although criminals are guilty they should be given an opportunity to realize the mistake they have committed. Also, abolishing death penalty ensures that no life of an innocent man is taken. Therefore, I contend that death penalty is an evil of 21st century.

Author: Pukar Wagley
The author is an A2 level student from Science Stream at Xavier International College, Kathmandu, Nepal.


  1. This is sooo not what the GP requires!
    This is going to fail students for sure!
    For questions as such, the answer has to be double sided, ended with judgement!

    1. Hi there, I value your opinion very much. Probably, your comment is based upon the command word "discuss". But, because there is no explicit command in the question to discuss in the specific way, this answer would not be incorrect.

      If the question was, "Discuss the pros and cons of capital punishment" then it would be mandatory to be double sided.

      However, the essay could have been better, if it had considered a few of the strong points of the other side of the argument. That would have, undoubtedly, increased the credibility and balance of the essay.

    2. i guess this is more of a brainstorming of ideas rather than a proper essay. the points given are really helpful though, learn to appreciate things!


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