The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints

The use of capital punishment in any criminal justice system around the world is a deeply contentious issue. There are many who oppose the use of the death penalty, largely on moral grounds and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, there are also a good number that supports the use of the same, arguing that the punishment is reserved for the most heinous and conscienceless crimes like murder and rape (Van den Haag & Conrad, 2013). It is further justified that though such a punishment deprives one of their constitutional and human right to life, it is often given in reciprocity to an equal act of failing to respect life in most cases. At a personal level, the death penalty is unjustifiable in any circumstances. This view does not change even when someone close if falsely accused and given the death penalty and is further reinforced in such a scenario. This is because the criminal justice system is not perfect, and further, life is sacred, a gift that requires no qualification.

The imperfect nature of the criminal justice system makes the death penalty undesirable. Even if such a punishment was to be admissible even for a short instance, it needs to be carried out by a perfect system that cannot get anything wrong. The criminal justice system does not qualify in that regard. This is because the law does not rely on truth but rather evidence, which may be distorted, doctored or created to justify certain ends by malevolent people (Van den Haag & Conrad, 2013). There are many innocent people who have been incarcerated for years only to be freed after it is realized that they were wrongfully accused. Others are forced to take pleas to avoid the long wait for a hearing. This is besides the ever present fears of corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary, which can easily lead to the indictment of the innocent. These loopholes in the criminal justice system make the death penalty a bad idea given that there are chances of it falling on the wrong guys.

The sanctity of life makes the death penalty not worthy of consideration. Life only comes from God and is a gift that is given without any qualification. This is the reason why there are clergy who suffer misfortunes and die prematurely despite their good deeds and prisoners who live a long life without any illnesses despite being deemed to be social misfits. No one can act in a way that makes them deserving to live and therefore offenders should be left to enjoy the gift of life as offered by the giver (Derrida, 2013). In an instance where a relative has been wrongly accused of a crime and is facing the death penalty, these views would even be reinforced.  First, their situation mirrors the earlier point that the criminal justice system is not perfect and does not qualify to expend the death penalty. Additionally, it remains true that their life is sacred and should not be taken away in any circumstances.

It is thus abundantly clear that the death penalty is undesirable and should be shunned. This is because of the imperfect nature of the criminal justice system which relies on evidence rather than truth to indict people. In the process, the chances of an innocent person getting the death penalty are high. Additionally, life is sacred and given as a gift without any qualification. It is therefore improper to take it away. The death penalty should therefore be opposed at all times.


Derrida, J. (2013). The death penalty (Vol. 1). University of Chicago Press.

Van den Haag, E., & Conrad, J. P. (2013). The death penalty: A debate. Springer Science & Business Media.

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