Capital punishment is something that has encouraged debate for years, even as it has become less and less prominent within democratic society. Many liberal and forward thinking nations have abolished it entirely from their judicial process, whereas many states within the US themselves no longer support execution as a consequence of criminal conduct. Though it is a diminishing concept, its existence still draws strong and divided opinions, especially as to whether it has any place at all in a civilized society.

The Dangers of Capital Punishment

Despite the increasing redundancy of capital punishment, there are those who still campaign for its place in the contemporary world, and cite the perpetual rise of violent crime and anti-social behavior as a basis for their arguments. Not only this, but it is promoted in some quarters as a resolution to overcrowded prisons and correctional facilities, especially as a method of dealing with criminals who may be beyond rehabilitation. The supporters of capital punishment make a clear distinction between those who are civilized and those who are not in a democratic society, and see execution as a way of protecting law abiding citizens.

These arguments are hard to dispute on certain levels, as capital punishment certainly would have a physical effect on reducing the criminal fraternity’s number, while also making a concise statement that the safety of well meaning citizens is above all else in society. However, there is far more dispute to be had on an ideological and factual level, especially in terms of the attitude it cultivates within society and its effectiveness as a deterrent of crime. Above, these raise serious concerns as to the place of capital punishment within a democracy.

Within a democratic society, rehabilitation is the core purpose which drives every prison sentence and judicial ruling. Regardless of the offense committed, an individual confined to a prison term is required to receive assistance and help in reforming their behavioral trends, as well as serving a debt towards the society they have harmed. This may be professional help to assist in resolving psychological issues, or more standard assistance provided by educational and social programs of learning.

However, there are are cases which seem to stand as exceptions to this rule, where the perpetrators have been detained with little hope for parole. In these instances, prisoners have often been serving life sentences and become completely institutionalized and accustomed to a specific regime, and yet hold little hope with regards to their release and subsequent freedom. A pertinent question that this raises is whether the justice system has simply failed to reform these individuals, or whether they have done enough in an attempt to rehabilitate their behavior?

High Profile Cases of Long Term Incarceration

While all types of crime are diverse in their nature and cause, some are complicated further by their execution and respective victims. As an example, in September of 2010, Mark Chapman was denied parole for a 6th time during his sentence for the murder of John Lennon in New York in 1980. It was undoubtedly a premeditated murder that reverberated around the world, and one which generated a huge amount of public reaction and scorn directed towards the perpetrator.

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