Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Thinking about the death penalty


The C2-level learners of our school who have been attending lessons for some months should be familiar with the story of Troy Davis who was on death row, as it has been brought up in our recent classes. Even though there was no solid evidence against him, this man was executed in the U.S. on 22 September. We now urge our students to read about the whole story here and then find out more about other controversial death row cases.

Keeping all the information in mind concerning both sides of capital punishment, they should try to answer this question: 

When is the death penalty the right answer? Does it constitute an efficient crime deterrent or should it be abolished? 

Here is also a variety of links on the issue along with two interesting quotes that can serve as a springboard for further discussion: 

Capital punishment is a barbaric remnant of uncivilized society. It is immoral in principle, and unfair and discriminatory in practice. It assures the execution of some innocent people. As a remedy for crime, it has no purpose and no effect. Capital punishment ought to be abolished now.
 ~American Civil Liberties Union

I believe that the weight of the evidence--aggregate statistical analyses, evaluations of experiments and quasi-experiments, and studies of individual behavior--supports the view that the rate of crime is influenced by its costs. This influence is greater--or easier to observe- for some crimes and persons than for others.
 ~James Q. Wilson, "Thinking About Crime: The Debate over Deterrence," The Atlantic Monthly, September 1983

Students can double-click on words they do not know on this blog.

4 comments:

  1. As far as I am concerned I believe that death penalty should be abolished. The main reason why I am against death penalty is that there is high possibility of an execution of an innocent person. This may be a result either because of lack of evidence or maybe because community hired an inappropriate layer for him. Moreover, death penalty is a more costly prosedure, than keeping the criminal imprisoned for the rest of his life. When a person is to be executed then he needs to have a lot of guards so as not to escape. Finally, this prosedure may take a long time so as to find all the evidence needed. This has a lot of hazardous effects to the criminal but also to his family who live in blank for a long time.....

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  2. Well said, Helen! It is so true that this procedure may be an unbearable psychological burden on the family as well as a financial one on the whole community. If all this ends up in executing an innocent person, then the judicial system has totally failed!

    However, there are proponents of the kind of punishment. Do you agree with them that some benefits can be derived from the implementation of death penalty?

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  3. Of course and I believe that there are also some benefits from this kind of detention. First of all, if death penalty is charged to everyone who commit a crime, then I believe that this will be a deterrent kind of punishment so as to repress crime and as a result murderes may be afraid of claiming more lives. In addition the family of the victim feels satisfied and relieved because the convict will not be able to make someone else suffer. As a conclusion if death penalty is effective then people will feel safer!

    But despite the fact that capital punishment can reduce the amount of crime, but am against it because I believe that it is a violation to human rights.

    Don't you agree? What is your opinion?

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  4. Yes, my dear teacher, I totally, utterly and passionately agree with you! You have left me with no more questions- you have answered almost about everything, hehe! Running out of options, I have decided to make some corrections to your last comment! Hmmm, let's see... :-)

    I am publishing my version here so as to allow you to compare the two:

    Of course, I believe that there are also some benefits from this kind of punishment. First of all, if death penalty is given to anyone who commits a brutal crime, then I believe that this will be a deterrent to crime; as a result, murderers may be afraid of claiming more lives. In addition, the family of the victim will definitely feel satisfied and relieved because the convict will not be able to make someone else suffer. In conclusion, if the death penalty is applied, then people will feel safer!

    Despite the fact that the capital punishment can reduce the amount of crime, I am against it because I believe that it is a violation of human rights.

    As I have said a hundred times, you deserve a big bravo, Helen, for your sincere efforts! You are almost there, study a bit more and you can do it!

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