The End of the Rope: A Critical Analysis of Capital Punishment with regards to Deterrence Theory

  • Vismaya Vinod
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  • Vismaya Vinod

    Student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India

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The capital punishment is one of the oldest and most enduring punishments, with its brutality and instinctiveness inciting the primal instincts of “civilised” societies. When questioned, it is typically defended using the deterrence theory and the theory of retributive justice, both of which are analysed in the article. The deterrence theory states that the death penalty deters crime by deterring crime: it does so by apprehending criminals and by preventing future wrongdoers by setting an example. However, it is discovered that countries with and without the punishment have no significant difference in crime levels. This is because crime is not typically committed after weighing the punishment, and because the certainty of being caught is more important than the severity of the punishment when it comes to deterrence theory. The theory of retributive justice is flawed and impracticable, as it addresses only the symptom of a larger illness impacting society. instead of improving societal conditions to prevent the making of a criminal mind, it chooses the short-term satisfaction of killing a person who should be seen as a victim of society. Finally, it is proven that people belonging to marginalised backgrounds are mostly the recipients of the death penalty, which indicates a clear societal failing and an administrative bias. Life imprisonment is presented as a viable and peaceful alternative to the death penalty, performing the same function but with better intentions and results. Additionally, as long as the judicial system remains human and prone to error, the State must refrain from taking away what it cannot restore: the gift of life.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 3124 - 3128


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