A definition of capital punishment Capital punishment is when a sentence of death is given for a crime committed.
Capital Punishment Has Several Aims. Deterrence Protection Vindication Reparation Retribution
Until 1828 death by hanging was the penalty for over 200 crimes in Britain. These crimes included shooting a rabbit, cutting down a tree and stealing. However in 1969 the death penalty was abolished in this country because of miscarriages of justice. The History of Capital Punishment in the UK
In other countries the death penalty is widely used. Statistics from the USA show that rather than the death penalty becoming less popular, the number of death sentences actually carried out has risen dramatically. In 1971, one person was put to death. In 1997 seventy-four were killed. In 1999 six hundred and ten received the death sentence! Capital Punishment in The USA
The Death Sentence Is Carried Out in a Number of Ways. In pairs, think about some of the methods of capital punishment that have been used in the past.
Crucifixion Guillotine Hanging Hung, drawn and quartered Ducking
Which Methods Of Execution Are Used In The USA Today? Electric Chair Lethal Injection Hanging Firing Squad Poisonous Gas
See If You Can Remember What The Different Methods Are.
The Electric Chair The prisoner is strapped to the chair with leather straps. A wet sponge is placed on their head to conduct electricity and a cover is placed over their face. Thousands of volts of electricity are passed through the person. It takes 10 minutes for the body to cool down enough to be touched.
The Gas Chamber The prisoner is placed in a sealed chamber. Chemicals are mixed to produce a poisonous gas. It may take the prisoner several painful minutes to die.
Lethal Injection The picture shows the bed the prisoner is strapped to. A lethal dose of a drug is administered until the prisoner’s heart stops.
Arguments For Capital Punishment Society must protect innocent people. Society must protect innocent people. Justice must be seen to be done. Justice must be seen to be done. “Life” prisoners are often released early and may re- offend. “Life” prisoners are often released early and may re- offend. The death penalty is the only deterrent some people understand. Some criminals might prefer execution to a life in prison.
Arguments Against the Use of Capital Punishment. People may be wrongly accused and executed. People may be wrongly accused and executed. The death penalty does not appear to work, the USA has a higher rate of violent crime than the UK. The death penalty does not appear to work, the USA has a higher rate of violent crime than the UK. The cost of keeping someone on death row is far higher than the cost of keeping them as a life prisoner. The cost of keeping someone on death row is far higher than the cost of keeping them as a life prisoner. Some criminals might be seen as martyrs. A civilised state should defend life not kill. Minority groups are far more likely to be given the death sentence in the USA.
What do Religious Teachings Say About Capital Punishment?
Take not a life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Surah 6:151 Islam
No matter how evilly someone behaves they always have the possibility of correcting their behaviour. James Belither Buddhism
Jesus taught compassion; “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…….” John 8: 7-11 Christianity
Can you imagine knowing the exact time of your death? What do you think your last moments would be like? Do you think that the death penalty is still acceptable today? Why do you think the method of execution has changed?