Capital punishment is the legal infliction of death as the penalty for violating capital laws. It is also known as the death penalty, and it is one of the most controversial practices in the modern world.
Most people have strong feelings about capital punishment. Arguments both for and against the practice are often based on religion and emotions. Those in favor of capital punishment believe that it deters crime and offers closure or a sense of justice for the family of the victim. They believe that executing a criminal is the only way to protect society from further crime.
Those opposed believe that it is barbaric and allows government to sink to the level of the criminal. There is also the possibility that the person being executed is really innocent, even with extensive background checks, and investigations.
History of Capital Punishment
Death penalty laws date back as far as 18th century B.C. The laws of Babylon’s King Hammurabi ordered the death penalty for 25 different crimes.
More information on the history of the death penalty can be found at the following sites.
Methods of capital punishment
The practice of putting criminals to death for crime has been going on for many years. Methods that have been used in the past include crucifixion, hanging, stoning, burning at the stake, and beheading.
The trend in most industrialized nations is to discontinue capital punishment. A majority of U.S. states still allow the death penalty. Lethal injection is the most common method of capital punishment still in use.
Differences in U.S. states
There are some state-specific laws regarding the type of crime for which capital punishment may be used, along with how the defendant’s mental incapacity may affect a death sentence.
Custom of the last meal
The last meal is a traditional part of the condemned felon’s last day. Some say this tradition dates back to Ancient Greece, where they believe the condemned man needed sufficient nutrition to go on his journey to the afterlife.
Controversies surrounding capital punishment
There is always a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of capital punishment. The debate about whether capital punishment is justified has been going on for hundreds of years. Different people support or oppose the use of the death penalty, and each has their own emotional and moral justification.
Capital punishment statistics
In 2008, 37 people in nine states were executed. All 37 were men. One was by electrocution; the rest were by lethal injection.
For more capital punishment statistics, visit the following sites:
Public support for the death penalty is diminishing in the United States and throughout the world. The number of death sentences in the United States each year is declining. As of December 2008, 138 countries have abolished the death penalty altogether.