Among retentionist countries, the United States has
continued to carry out the death penalty. Interestingly, some states within the U.S. have
bans on capital punishment while others continue to sentence capital punishment (Kury,
T. N., & Obergfell, 2003). This divergence between states has continued the debate of
abolishing or continuing the death penalty.
In light of this, it can be observed that the death penalty has failed as
an effective deterrent and in turn is prejudiced towards criminals and has brought about
social and economic expenses to society which can be avoided by alternative
punishments such as life sentencing.
Retribution, the oldest philosophy, is based on the principle of
, or “an
eye for an eye”, in other words an appropriate punishment for the harm done. This
retribution model has often been used for supporting the death penalty, as a
murderer should in turn also be murdered.
With the deterrence model, it is seen that individual’s choose to maximize
pleasure and minimize pain. Thus, the death penalty would also be supported by
this model by suggesting that sentencing someone to death will relieve the anger
and hurt brought forth by the act of violence. People in support of the death
penalty likewise posit that capital punishment deters others from committing
similar crimes in the future. Similarly, that this deterrent is far greater than that of
The philosophy of incapacitation focuses on preventing an individual from
committing a crime (Jiang, 2007). In regards to this philosophy, capital
punishment would be the most extreme form of incapacitation (Kury, T. N., &
However, when observing the rehabilitation model of punishment, the focus is on
reforming offenders and allowing them to reenter society. In regards to this
philosophy, the death penalty fails to apply (Jiang, 2007).
Deterrence model, interestingly research has shown that capital punishment in