The Death Penalty

The death penalty is something which raises its head from time to time, particularly in our western society, mostly I think because our social conscience will not allow us to simply take the life of another regardless of the offence. I don’t find the answer so easy to find. As this whole issue challenges and polarises people please don’t read on if it is likely to offend you. If you choose to read on, my thoughts are thus.

Where education to adhere to our community rules has failed there has to be a deterrent put in place in order to maintain a level of comfort and protection to those that abide by the law. That deterrent we set is in the form of punishment which will of course vary depending on the level of the infraction or the level of encouragement one needs to consider not reoffending.

death penaltyAdditionally, a method of rehabilitation is often put into place to assist our wayward  co-inhabitant. In various societies this can take the form of education or in others the method of capital punishment. Capital punishment as a form of deterrent as well and can vary from a “slap on the wrist” as we do in Australia to more demonstrative measures like beatings, whippings, stonings and ultimately the death penalty as we see in other countries.  The point is where is that line drawn where capital punishment extends to administering death?

Morally, who has the right and who is the final judge that decides to take the life of another. But equally so, at what point has an individual forfeited the right to live amongst us.

For those that have committed the most heinous crimes that appal society the penalty of life imprisonment is often imparted. What we are effectively saying is that rehabilitation has been judged to be either not possible or not granted. Are we not therefore allowing these criminals to live at the community’s expense and to impact, one would therefore assume, adversely the very inmates that can and are being rehabilitated to return better citizens having served their term.

In the countries that have the death penalty it is definitely a deterrent to the honest people amongst us to not commit crimes however the fact is the penalty gets used and therefore is not the ultimate deterrent to everyone.

So I conclude that as a deterrent to commit crimes in the most extreme nature the death penalty is ineffective. Those that have ignored the possibility of death as a penalty, and having committed their crime, are considered beyond redemption and rehabilitation. They, for the sake of all but themselves, need to be ostracised from others within the community. But the question remains, have they forfeited the right to live their remaining days at the expenses of the very community that they have disrespected, particularly with it having been decided they will never return.

I have removed the notion of vengeance in order to make a judgement however something deep inside me says those that commit certain crimes against our fellow human beings have lost their right to be here amongst us. But could I commit them to death? Could I flick the switch or plunge the needle?  Even those that have been directly affected by the acts of those are not unanimous in their judgement.



  1. Oh dear… it seems you really do believe in the infallibility of the Legal System. I deliberately don’t call it a “Justice System” after witnessing first hand it’s horrific failings and the tragedy brought down upon the heads of innocent/ wrongfully convicted people and their loved ones… 😦 Just terrible!!!
    However, despite serving a lengthy jail term, in shocking conditions, and losing the best years of his life my dear friend/ distant relative IS still alive. Once a life has been taken, and a “mistake” uncovered, that life can not be given back.

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