The subject of the death penalty is one of the most controversial subjects today. Whenever the death penalty, also known as capital punishment, comes up, extremists from both sides begin to express their opinions. One side is pro-death penalty, while the other side says there’s a potential of executing an innocent man. One says justice, retribution, and punishment, while the other side says execution is murder. However, all arguments aside, the best way and to make a rational decision about capital punishment is to examine the purpose of our criminal justice system. Once the purpose of the criminal justice system is established, one must find out the purpose of capital punishment. History has shown the purpose of capital punishment is consistent with and embodies the purpose of the criminal justice system. The first question that must be faced is, “What is the purpose of the criminal justice system and does the death penalty help to fulfill that purpose?”
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to uphold the law and order in society. The death penalty is apart of many societies today and has been around for hundreds of years. In the past the death penalty also included intense torture. “For instance, in the thirteenth century, the death penalty became increasingly popular European countries. France, for one, would torture and kill convicted criminals. After that they would take the limbs and place them all around the city. Since there was not any television or radio, this was the way to communicate to society that convicted criminals for serious crimes were given there sentence.”(1) There criminal justice system of the past felt that torture and public death was necessary in order to show the public that such crimes will not be tolerated. Even though the death penalty in the past was cruel and terrifying, it served its purpose in maintaining order in its society.
Many people, on the other hand, are against capital punishment. Anti-capital punishment believers throw many arguments to the table for abolishing the death penalty. “For example, the United States has the best criminal justice systems. But even the best system has its flaws. It is true that there are innocent people in jail, even on death row. And many believe if one innocent person is executed than the system is a failure.”(2) I understand and respect this opinion, but strongly disagree. We live in a world that is ruled and ran by humans. Therefore, we will always have to deal with the human error factor in life, including the criminal justice system. Even though there are flaws, it is a good system and must be used.
Even though we still have the death penalty, we live in a society that is very compassionate and humanistic. There isn’t any torture involved in the executions anymore. We have tried to come up with more efficient ways such as the gas chamber and lethal injection to kill the convicted criminals. The present criminal justice system gives the death penalty to people that commit horrendous crimes. And I believe that for every action we make in life there is an equal consequence. Therefore capital punishment is good for society because it makes people think twice about committing murder and it is a fair punishment for people that do commit terrible crimes.
The death penalty is the most severe of all sentences. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to set laws for society and set punishments aside for the laws that were broken. The criminal justice system in the United States implemented capital punishment and has used for extreme cases such as murder. Therefore the death penalty has a purpose in the system and it is used when necessary. Yes capital punishment is very extreme and controversial, but it is necessary because the punishment fits the crime.