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To what extent should the use of Capital Punishment be a matter for Political & Moral Choice rather than based simply on its Ethnicacy as a deterrent against cr - Essay Example

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The capital punishment has undergone a series of drastic transformations in the twentieth century. Till the beginning of the twentieth century, the death penalty was used with decreasing frequency and was restricted, in practice and sometimes in the statutes, to fewer and fewer crimes (Colson 1997)…
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To what extent should the use of Capital Punishment be a matter for Political & Moral Choice rather than based simply on its Ethnicacy as a deterrent against cr
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To what extent should the use of Capital Punishment be a matter for Political & Moral Choice rather than based simply on its Ethnicacy as a deterrent against cr

Dramatic changes in the letter and the practice of criminal law inevitably indicate that cultural work is being done, that a paradigm shift is occurring in the understanding of crime, criminals, and police power. The main problem is that the debates about capital punishment and its effectiveness are based on ethical principles rather than political or moral rules. Many critics state that capital punishment should be analyzed and discussed in accordance with moral and political principles rather than a 'common sense', values and traditions.
Traditionally, the public discussion of crime and punishment encompasses more than the penal code and debates about courts, judges, and juries. The modern criminal justice system emerged at the same time as the fields of psychiatry, criminology, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. These disciplines purported to apply scientific methods of inquiry to behavior, mental illness, and the social and psychological dimensions of crime. In general, moral arguments can be made both for and against capital punishment (Logan, 1999). Long a key element of the debate, moral arguments also have tended to remain fairly static over the years, and often have been used in conjunction with religious arguments. Two moral arguments have remained particularly important throughout the death penalty debate: retribution and the sanctity of life. Those favoring the death penalty often argue that society must express moral outrage at, and condenmation of, heinous crimes such as murder (Coyne & Entzeroth, 2006). The conscience of society should be educated in the view of such a penalty; if it were not, or when it is not, poor and cheap indeed is the estimate placed upon the sacredness of human life. Conversely, abolitionists often argue that rather than upholding the sanctity of life, the death penalty violates it.
Both Henry Fielding and Charles Dickens used moral and political arguments to oppose capital punishment. These same issues have been the subject of even greater attention and controversy in the modern era, as scientific studies have attempted to determine whether capital punishment acts as a deterrent to murder and/or whether it has a "brutalizing" effect on society. In spite of the fact that Fielding supported execution for Bosavern Penlez, he rejected the idea of capital punishment as the only possible measure to prevent crimes (Fielding, 1980). Proponents of capital punishment typically consider deterrence to be one of its fundamental goals. The execution sermons of the early colonies were full of warnings against following in the footsteps of the condemned, and executions were public events designed to instill fear and reverence for the law in the people of the community (Colson 1997).
Also, critics admit that such mental state as monomania is an elusive form of insanity manifested itself in a single narrow area. Monomaniacs could thus appear sane and normal most of the time but would become obsessive, wildly irrational, and even homicidal in regard to one particular subject (Coyne & Entzeroth 2006). The rational faculties of the moral imbecile could be entirely intact, but the moral faculties common to normal humans were totally lacking. In court, and in some state penal codes, these new categories sometimes led to an "irresistible impulse" test: For the monomaniacal murderer or the moral imbecile, a single act of explosive violence might expose a lifetime of apparent normalcy as a ... Read More
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