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Within the context of America’s criminal justice system, the idea of punishment is one of - page 2 / 4





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committed, the State has the right to execute, will that criminal think twice about the crime? 5) Legal scholars, for centuries, have argued the biblical “eye for an eye” punishment – severe crime requires severe punishment. What is the most severe punishment if not execution? 6) Along with #5, isn’t capital punishment logical for someone who is a mass murderer themselves?

Some of the same reasons above can also be construed as arguments against capital punishment. 1) Prison may be a viable option, after all, isn’t it just punishment to lock someone away from society for their entire life? 2) Humane punishment – the execution of a person is not humane, regardless of the behavior of that individual. The humanity of execution is dependent upon societal mores and individual views; some cultures view killing in different manners. 3) If killing is wrong, how can killing for punishment be right? Two wrongs do not make a right. 4) Pain – Different cultures execute in different manners, and the concept of pain is different with each method. Certainly, death on the guillotine is different than death by lethal injection. 5) Capital Punishment violates a basic right to life – and can be seen as cruel and unusual, something banned by the Constitution. 6) What if, in the most extreme cases, a person is wrongly convicted and then executed? 7) Does society have the right to cause death? 8) Religiously, if a criminal is executed, then that individual has not religious way to find salvation and forgiveness. 8) Is there a place in society for forgiveness? 9) Can a criminal make amends or repair damage? If the State executes, this negates any damage repair (Haines, 1999).

In all actuality, all the arguments of both sides made sense – both philosophically and morally. Do we, as a society, really want to warehouse an individual who has committed such a heinous crime that we can never imagine letting them reenter society? But then, do we, by executing them, say that it is OK for the State to murder, but not an individual. By the same token, if a criminal kills, maims, or tortures dozens or hundreds of people, does that individual

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