July 27, 2009
The death penalty has been a commonplace in western civilization for two thousand years. Capital punishment has been a steady topic of debate and controversy in the United States. The fairness of its application is debated in coffeehouses, classrooms, political arenas, and the media. Capital punishment is certainly one of the most hotly contested criminal justice issues that receive significant media attention (Kudlac, 2007). What is interesting, however, is that despite this representation in the media, most death penalty cases receive surprisingly little national media attention. In fact, of the 1,000 people executed in the United States since 1977 and the 3,500 inmates currently awaiting execution, only a handful of cases can be recalled by the news-consuming public. Protesters of execution point to recent cases in which innocent offenders like Rolando Cruz in Illinois in 1995 narrowly escaped being unjustly executed. Supporters of the death penalty point to terrible crimes, such as the mass murder in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh. Supporters of the death penalty believe that capital punishment is the only way to punish an offender for the crime that was committed (Bedau & Cassell, 2004).
We are going take a look at several arguments that supports the death penalty. Supporters of the death penalty feel that the only way to get justice for murder is to punish the murderer by death. The death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered so much. Some family members of crime victims may take years or decades to recover from the shock and loss of a loved one. Some may never recover. The criminal justice system itself sometimes offers resources to victims’ families. Life in prison just means the criminal is still around to haunt the victim. A death sentence brings finality to a horrible chapter in the lives of these family members. Our...