The death penalty is a highly controversial issue, and just about everyone in the UK has an opinion on it. Some people want to bring it back to hang rapist, paedophiles and murders. While on the other hand there are people who think we should never bring it back, as there is a risk that we could always hang an innocent person, as it has been shown in the UK and around the world that there have been miscarriages of justice which have led to some innocent people being executed.
Now I can see both points of view and sympathise with them on both counts. It would be a great tragedy to find out that we brought back the death penalty and latter executed someone who had been framed for a serious crime. We have notable incidents in our recent history of this happening with both Derek Bentley and Timothy Evens. Both of whom it was later found out that they were innocent of the crime they had been accused of. Now if this were to happen today with the death penalty then I think the British public would be angered and demand that we got rid of it and made sure we never brought it back.
There is also the opinion that executing someone is not the way to go, and the state should not punish someone by killing them. As this is not punishment its revenge and that it would be more of a punishment to let this person have to live out the rest of their life in prison. Also arguing that it’s cruel and inhumane to kill someone as you are not treating them like a human being, and prison should be a deterrent enough.
However this argument I personally find the weakest of those against the death penalty. Now in the UK a mandatory life sentence does not mean that we send the person to prison for life, the average murder only tends to serve 14 years in prison for murder. We have to consider that is prison really a deterrent for murder? I think we can say for a lot of people prison is not really a deterrent for most crimes so why would murder be any different.
However I think we need to look at just who commits murder and the reality of it is murder is committed by loved ones and friends, and tends not to be a premeditated thing and more of a spur of the moment rage. Where someone snaps and kills someone they care about. Personally I think using the death penalty for these people in 99% of cases would be the wrong thing to do. I think it would send the wrong message to society that if you kill someone then we will kill you.
But I do think that there are some situations where the death penalty would have a use in today’s modern society. There are some crimes that truly do shock society we see the likes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, Stephen Griffiths, Dennis Nilsen, Steve Wright and Ian Huntley. Whose crimes were predatory, sexual and violent in horrific nature and causing fear and terror in the areas that they operated in.
We accept that prison is there to rehabilitate offenders and be able to release people who do not pose a possible threat to the safety of other people. Now nearly all of the prison population would fit in to this category but those listed above and a small minority of other prisoners are never going to be safe to release in to modern society. The risk of them killing again is too high, and it would be a dangerous move to release a psychopathic killer back in to polite society.
So instead in the current situation these people are left to live out the rest of their natural life in prison with no possibility of release. They can be in prison for 20, 30, and 40 years plus at an average cost of £47,000 per year. Now in these cases we also know that these are the persons who committed their vile crimes and there is no doubt about that.
Therefore I propose that for the most egregious crimes where we know that the person would never be released due to the fact that they would just not be safe to release. That for these evil people the death penalty is more than justifiable and not only would it be legally justifiable but I think the consensus within the population would be that it’s justifiable to punish these people with the death penalty.