Capital Punishment Vs. Life Inprisonment

Length: 9 Pages 2143 Words

What is more effective: capital punishment or life imprisonment? I chose the topic because from my list of options it appeared to be the most interesting and challenging. I also felt that it related well to current topics and controversies in today’s society. It was very easy to find information on capital punishment, while it was a small challenge to find thorough information on life imprisonment. It seems as though, most critics are willing to express their views on capital punishment, but not on its alternatives. Before researching the backgrounds and uses of capital punishment and life imprisonment, I did not have a very strong opinion or viewpoint on the topic. I have never truly been for or against the use of capital punishment. Up to this point in time I have been unable to form a good opinion because I have never obtained enough knowledge of the subject. Recently, after my large study of both options, I have formed an opinion, I believe that capital punishment is more effective than life imprisonment as a permanent punishment for a criminal who has committed serious crimes. Capital punishment has a long history. The use of capital punishment dates all the way back to 2000 BC. People were put to death for c Continue...


This is where the complexities of punishment come into play. While many believe that capital punishment is useful in society, there is a large group of citizens who believe that the lives of prisoners who are going to be or should be executed can be used in better ways. Even some criminals agree that the only way to stop some criminals from committing another murder is for the person to be executed (Kronenwetter 3). Death penalty supporters say we execute murderers and those who commit other capital crimes in order to deter further capital crimes from being committed (Williams 25). The main problem being that there really is no true life imprisonment. For example, a criminal named Westley Allan Dodd was convicted and executed for committing the crime of raping and murdering 3 young boys. The prime purpose for punishment is to restore moral order and the order of justice (Zimring 153). Often times criminals are freed from prison early (Biskup 145). Capital punishment is a large controversy in today's society because not every one feels that capital punishment is moral or politically right. Our countries past use of electrocution and gas chambers were even humane when compared to the methods of execution of the past. In some states, life with out parole doesn't even exist as a possible sentence, such as Texas. I am glad to have gained so much knowledge, but it has been a scary event to do so. For example there was a man originally on death row for rape and murder of a young girl, 9 years into his death row sentence DNA testing evidence was provided and proved his innocence. Which included being hanged, beheaded, stoned, stretched on racks, pressed to death with weights, cut into pieces, disemboweled, torn to pieces by horses, consumed by lions, burned alive, drowned, crucified and shot (Horwitz 13). One of the mitigating circumstances in the sentence he received was that while on trial he told the court he would be willing to kill prison guards in order to escape prison and seek out other young boys to rape and murder.