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Capital Punishment and Torture Essay

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Capital punishment is not a morally acceptable practice because the process has come to represent a form of torture in our modern society and therefore, should not be seen as an acceptable form of punishment for any criminal act. The goal of a punishment is to properly reprimand the criminal so justice is served in regard to the victim. This can be achieved without violating our moral standards through the use of punishments which sufficiently punish the offender while still doing right by the victim. Capital punishment may be the most just option of retribution when punishing a murderer, but it serves as an injustice to the persons who must carry out the duty and has also become a torturous experience for the offender.
Cesare Beccaria discusses the issue of torture in his work An Essay on Crimes and Punishments. He states that either a crime is certain or uncertain, and in either circumstance, torture is not a legitimate punishment (Beccaria 530). When a crime has certainly been committed and already has a punishment assigned to it by law, it is useless to torture because you do not need to torture the convicted person to get a confession. If the proof is insufficient to convict the person in question of committing the crime, “it is wrong to torture an innocent person, such as the law adjudges him to be, whose crimes are not yet proved” (Beccaria 530). Torture, therefore, is not acceptable in any case of punishment and should not be used.
It is important to assign punishments in proportion to the crime committed. Immanuel Kant comments upon this in his work, The Retributive Theory of Punishment, professing that the mode of measuring punishment is based on “the principle of equality, by which the pointer of the scale...


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...alty, but the process leading up to it makes it a torturous and unjust form of punishment. Therefore, capital punishment is not a morally permissible practice and should be abolished.



Works Cited

Johnson, Robert. Death Work: A Study of the Modern Execution Process. Ed. Sabra Horne, et al. 2nd
ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1998. Print.

Reiman, Jeffrey H. “Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty” Philosophy and Public Affairs 14, no. 2 (Spring 1985): Princeton University Press, 1985. Print.

Kant, Immanuel, and William Hastie. The Philosophy of Law: an Exposition of the Fundamental Principles of Jurisprudence as the Science of Right. Union, NJ: Lawbook Exchange, 2002. Print.

Beccaria, Cesare. “An Essay On Crimes And Punishments” The Portable Enlightenment Reader.
Ed. Isaac Kramnick. New York: Penguin Books, 1995. 525-32.


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