Exploring the Contours of Capital Punishment: Justice or Cruelty?

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The idea of ending someone’s life as punishment for a crime committed seems unjust to many, but few believe it is effective. Capital punishment, or “the death penalty,” is when a person is killed by the state in response to a crime of conviction. In 36 states across the United States, “inmates on death row with an execution warrant may choose to be executed.” I agree with capital punishment to a certain extent. Some forms of execution are a little extreme, some crimes don’t require execution, and it shouldn’t be a choice whether or not someone lives.

US Execution Methods: Humane or Inhumane?

There are five different methods of execution allowed in the US, which include injection, electrocution, gas, firing squad, and hanging. According to Fox News, the state of Tennessee became the first state to allow the use of the electric chair when injection drugs aren’t on hand despite the wishes of the inmate. Executions such as the electric chair and firing squad seem very unjust. They depict a high level of torture. Something about having a large voltage of electricity frying your brain and having a cloth target over your heart for shooters to aim and rupture your heart seems inhumane. The only form of execution that seems just is lethal injection, which seems that the inmate suffers substantially less. Not every inmate deserves a slow, painful death.

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When is the Death Penalty Justified?

In circumstances such as attempted murder, murder, rape, and treason, I believe execution is necessary. The individuals who commit these levels of crime have purposely chosen to cause harm to another human being and deserve to suffer the consequences, whether that is execution or a lifetime sentence. If an individual is mentally ill, then he/she should not be trialed the same as an individual who is sane. This type of individual should be placed in a facility to treat his/her illness. Although, some mentally ill patients realize what they are doing and can determine right from wrong. In order to determine whether or not an individual is aware of their wrongdoings, the suspect should be processed through a series of mental tests. If the individual is found capable of understanding their actions, then he/she should be trialed as any other.

Although execution is a way of getting justice for the victim of a crime, no one should determine someone else’s fate. As stated before, inmates have the decision to choose execution if they have an execution warrant placed on them. That form of execution is usually a lethal injection, but in some cases, the injection isn’t available, resulting in the use of the electric chair, which may be against the inmate’s wishes. Also, execution requires the involvement of outside sources, such as the person performing the execution. This puts this person in an uncomfortable position that can become emotionally effective.

In conclusion, execution is an effective way to receive justice if the form of execution doesn’t involve a slow, painful death. As long as the punishment is humane and the inmate shows no signs of a struggle, it is acceptable. No execution should be televised or put on display, although the inmate has lost most rights. This is an invasion and should be a private event. Currently, the 36 states that allow capital punishment have assured that the action will be carried out quickly and as harmless as it should be.


  1. Death Penalty Information Center. (2021). “Methods of Execution.”
  2. Fox News. (2022). “Tennessee and the Return of the Electric Chair.”

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Exploring the Contours of Capital Punishment: Justice or Cruelty?. (2023, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/exploring-the-contours-of-capital-punishment-justice-or-cruelty

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