Death penalty has been an inalienable part of human society and its legal system for centuries, regarded as a necessary deterrent to dangerous crimes and a way to liberate the community from dangerous criminals. However, later on this type of punishment came to be regarded as a crime against humanistic ideals by many, and its validity in the legal system has been questioned. Until now, the debate rages on. This resulted in a wide discrepancy of laws on this issue. Some nations including China, the US, Iran, Belarus, and others preserve the death penalty as an option, while others like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and almost all European nations have abolished capital punishment. Still others keep the norm in their legislations, but have de facto suspended execution of criminals sentenced to capital punishment. This paper will seek to prove that death penalty has to be preserved as a valid means of prevention serious crimes. It will examine the effect of death penalty on society and its relevance to the protection of interests of common citizens.
The history of death penalty is almost as old as the history of mankind. Various means of capital punishment involved burning, hanging, drowning, crucifixion, breaking on the will, boiling to death, electrocution, firing squad, gassing - the list can be continued. The choice of a particular method in Europe in the Middle Age, for instance, depended on the social status of the condemned. Painless and respectable ways were reserved for the aristocracy; and more painful for the common people, such as hanging or breaking on the wheel. In other cases, the choice of the method was warranted by the time of crime: witches and heretics had to be burned at the stake. Capital punishment was envisaged for a broad array of crimes, “including robbery and theft, even if nobody was physically harmed in the action” (Wikipedia). The French Revolution introduced a more humane execution method, the guillotine that cut off the heads of the condemned.