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  • Aaditri Jha

The Death Penalty Dilemma: Humanity vs. Justice

"Can we truly call ourselves evolved when we resort to the same violence we condemn?" - Mahatma Gandhi

The death penalty, also called capital punishment, is the execution of a person sentenced to death after an authorised process that concludes the offender's responsibility for committing a serious crime. Many believe this is a fair practice, while others view it as an inhumane punishment.

Capital punishment is the most cruel and drastic penalty one can receive, as it allows the state to take away a person's life in seconds. This raises many ethical questions. Does a country have the jurisdiction to take someone else’s life? Does anyone? The main use of the death penalty is deterrence, based on the belief that it deters other criminals who might stop committing crimes due to the fear of death. However, according to a recent study conducted by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock of the University of Colorado, around 88% of the world’s leading criminologists believe that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crimes. They argue that the certainty of punishment should be more determined than its severity.

Another looming concern about the death penalty is its irreversibility. If a person is found to be innocent after their execution, there is no way of bringing them back. Mistakes can be made in the criminal justice system, but in the case of capital punishment, once these errors are found, they can never be rectified. This could lead to the death of someone who was completely undeserving. Moreover, there is significant corruption in this system, causing this penalty to be applied disproportionately to those from marginalised communities, including racial and ethnic minorities. These individuals face injustice because of something as minor as the colour of their skin or their limited financial resources.

In conclusion, the death penalty is a widely debated topic around the world. However, no amount of discussion changes the fact that all humans can change. Our behaviour, personality, and views evolve every day. Even criminals are capable of change and growth. With the right guidance, they can become better individuals who realise and accept their wrongdoings. One step at a time, we all improve. It is not fair to single out any individuals, especially if it involves discrimination based on their caste, religion, or race. Despite everything that sets us apart from others, we all have the right to life. We all have the inherent, fundamental human right to live, change, and eventually become better people.

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