The death penalty is also commonly known as and referred to as capital punishment. There are different methods as to inflicting the death penalty they are hanging, decapitation, electrocution, gassing, shooting and lethal injections. These are the most commonly used methods. Capital punishment is the execution, by the state, of those found guilty of a crime as stated in the Canadian law. In Canada the penalty was restricted to a small number of very serious crimes, such as treason and murder. The method used was hanging from the year of 1867 and on.
The last capital punishment hanging in Canada took place in 1962 (Bain). During the time period between 1867 and 1962, 710 people were executed in Canada (Canadian Encyclopedia). The reinstating of the death penalty at this time will not act as a deterrent of crime and is more an act of retribution. The reasons as to why it should not be restored are that executions are a form of retribution that defeats the purpose of the justice system, innocent people are sometimes executed under false accusations, and because it does not act as a deterrent to society and crime.
Firstly, the death penalty is a form of revenge which is an outdated method for justice in our society today. Using this method of an eye for an eye type of punishment is the inhumanely killing of a person. As said by Ghandi, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” meaning revenge or retribution is not the answer you should seek when punishing someone. This form of punishment has been used since ancient times and is so severe that it can not be reversed. The permanence of this punishment is unsparing and does not give the person any chances to be rehabilitated or try to be integrated back into society.
The very worst means of torture or disciplinary action is to take a person’s life. The whole purpose of our justice system is to impede criminals from committing crime by the means of punishment that is seen fit by society and law makers. On the issue of capital punishment in nineteen seventy six Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau held a free vote on Bill C- eighty four, (abolishing capital punishment). The bill passed by a narrow margin of 6 votes: 130 to 124. However in 1987, in another free vote, the Canadian Parliament voted against re-establishment of the death penalty (Jayewardene).
That fact shows that after several free votes the Canadian Parliament were not in favor of recalling the death penalty as a form of punishment to be used in Canada. Secondly, the death penalty can result in the baseless accusations of innocent people making them appear guilty. For example Kirk Bloodsworth is the first person in the United States to be exonerated by DNA evidence after being convicted in a death penalty case. As written by Gretchen Parker, “He was picked up after the crime when an anonymous tip out of 500 told authorities he looked like the man in a composite sketch.
He was convicted by two juries, eyewitnesses who testified that they saw someone nearby who looked like Bloodsworth. ” After spending 9 years in jail and 2 of them on death row he was finally cleared from the murder and rape charges of the crime in 1993. They eventually found the real killer with the same DNA that had cleared Bloodsworth, which now proved the guilt of Shay Ruffner who was already facing previous rape charges. This shows how the law is not fool proof and can easily wrongfully convict someone of heinous crimes they are not guilty of and could have easily been executed by the death penalty.
Thirdly, capital punishment does not act as a deterrent instead it is a form of vengeance and “getting back” at that person. The reason why it is believed that the penalty of death does not act as a deterrent can be shown by studies conducted by numerous social scientists and criminologists. For example, these social scientists studied homicide rates in Canada from the nineteenth century until 1962. They have compared them with the period from 1962 until 1976, when the death penalty for murder was officially abolished.
These social scientists have also added to the comparison, the homicide rates from 1976 to the present (Morgenthau). If the death penalty were in fact a deterrent the assumption would be that the homicide rates as a percentage of the total population would be that the rates would rise during the time after 1962. In fact the homicide rates remained fairly stable until 1967 as reviewed by these scientists which used the statistics in Canada. The rates from 1977 to 1999 were the lowest since 1969 (Morgenthau). In conclusion, the reinstatement of the death penalty would not do the public any good.
The death penalty does not act as a deterrent but its eradication seems to have decreased homicide rates. Also with the death penalty being such a permanent and irreversible act, the reinstatement of it should be thought about carefully. By taking into consideration the case of Bloodsworth who was innocent and was to be killed for a crime he did not commit. The past few times that Canada has held a free vote for the return of the death penalty the decision has remained the same, opposing the reinstatement of capital punishment as a penalty of crime.
Resulting to violence to try and deter crime is not the most sensible way of preventing such acts. By imposing violence we are encouraging more violence and such behavior in our justice system should not be tolerated.
Works Cited Wikipedia. com Amesty. ca Bain, Colin M. , Jill S. Coyler. The Human Way: Introduction to Sociology. , 2001 Morgenthau, 1998. “The Death Penalty Hinders the Fight Against Crime. ” Parker, Gretchen. “Book tells full story of a man’s wrongful death-row conviction. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia © 2008 Historica Foundation of Canada “Capital Punishment. ” Online 9 Mar. 2008