[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jan 27 22:25:22 CST 2008
Say 'no' to death-----Career & Education
Career & Education shares with you in the Thinkers' Corner this week an
essay by Xaiver Campbell, 18, of Campion College. Campbell placed first in
the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights Secondary School Essay
Competition for this entry last year. He addresses the question: "Does a
justice system need to have faults for the death penalty to be
CAMPBEL. the Declaration of Human Rights serves as a guide on how to treat
your fellow human being
YOU should not kill people to show that killing people is wrong. That is
always my outlook in debates on the subject of the death penalty and its
It is also how I have chosen to convey my view that the death penalty is
wrong and should be abolished. Before I venture into the depth of this
essay, I believe it is necessary to define the important terms that
comprise the initial statement.
The justice system refers to a country's method of coordinating and
regulating its laws. Fault, as defined by Funk & Wagnalls Standard
Dictionary of the English Language is, 'a slight offence, failure,
imperfection or error'. The death penalty is the use of execution as a
form of punishment.
After 1992, in Jamaica, the death penalty was mandatory for convictions of
capital murder. Capital murder refers to the murder of a member of the
police force, a judge, a juror or murder in the course of a crime such as
robbery, a sexual offence or terrorism. The word 'undesirable' as defined
by the same dictionary is, 'unwanted or unwelcome'.
So, do the methods used by a country to regulate its society need to be
imperfect for punishment by death to be unwanted? No! The death penalty in
a 'perfect' society should also be unsolicited.
First and foremost, the death penalty is a direct and blatant disregard
for human rights. It defies Article Two of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, which states, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and
security of person'. When a person is sentenced to death, you have taken
away their right to life. That individual is put on death row and waits
from day to day for his life to come to an end. How is that treatment
befitting of a human being?
It also violates Article Five of said publication, which says: "No one
shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment". How on this planet can anyone look you in the eye and tell
you that the execution of the death penalty by any means - whether it is
by hanging, electrocution, lethal injection or otherwise - is neither
inhumane, nor degrading? Well, it is!
The Declaration of Human Rights serves as a guide on how to treat your
fellow human being. It is crucial that we adhere to the articles it has so
outlined. The death penalty is completely opposite to the issues it
To be honest, we all know there is no justice system that can be
considered perfect. Each system is flawed. It is defective because people
with biases administer it. No matter what oath may have been taken, people
are guided by their individual socialisation and they may try to not affix
their personal beliefs to the case but it is impossible, as it is done
subconsciously. For that reason, the justice system is blemished, carrying
out the death penalty would be a terrible blunder as it is irreversible.
Once carried out it can never be corrected. "With the stakes raised so
high, the consequence of any judicial error takes on monumental
proportions," as was so eloquently expressed by the Independent Jamaican
Council for Human Rights (IJCHR) on the death penalty.
It has been studied and found that in seven out of 10 instances where the
death penalty was administered further evidence was discovered after
continued investigation that would have altered the outcome of the case.
How do you express to an individual that it was a mistake to have killed
their loved one? You cannot!
In addition, the death penalty does not run parallel to the belief that
rehabilitation of the individual criminal is both possible and desirable.
I honestly believe that the criminal should be given a chance to repay his
debt to society.
The reason for having programmes in prisons is to give them the
opportunity to right a wrong. To give them the chance that upon release
they can better themselves and society. To live within a justice system
that does not perpetuate these beliefs is not a society I would recommend
Ask any child in Jamaica what is our country's major downfall, and off the
top of their heads they will say crime and violence, and they are correct.
We are oftentimes referred to as the murder capital of the world. That is
awful! For us not to abolish the death penalty, we as Jamaicans are
telling the world that if it is somehow legitimate, or even deserved and
that violence is acceptable.
The death penalty travels with an enormous amount of violent acts. To our
youth it depicts that revenge is more satisfactory than forgiveness. You
simply cannot try to teach Jamaica's future in their homes that
forgiveness is the way, yet in the judicial system, you say revenge is
sweeter. Societal and familial teachings should go hand in hand for any
society to function properly.
Death in my country is common, but the death penalty depicts the cyclical
violence that Jamaica does not need to be associated with. Quiet protest
in agreement to the abolition of the death penalty, may be the minuscule
act that a child can perform to help curtail the tide of violence in
The death penalty serves as a means to punish the underprivileged. The
poor man who is incapable of hiring proper legal counsel is more likely to
be sentenced to death than a wealthy person with a team of lawyers. Also,
when someone of a lower class stands to be judged, jurors are likely to
associate him or her with the crime they are not even convicted of as yet.
Society views the execution of a "ghetto youth" as, according to The Death
Penalty published by IJCHR, "the end to a tragic story of an individual
caught up in a society outside of his control, than it does a fitting
punishment for a crime for which he is wholly responsible."
For the poor, the death penalty serves as a method of the systematic
subtraction of one person who may have developed into a future murderer or
rapist, instead of a deterrent to crime as lobbyists so passionately
emphasise. Violence should never be used to deter violence.
(source: Jamaica Observer)
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