Feature Article

An Eye For An Eye

An eye for an eye, a life for a life. Romeo Montague, former hitman, charged with countless accounts of homicide waiting anxiously on death row. Taking a classic play and using the conventions to explore the capital punishment debate. As of 2019, in the United States there are 63 people on death row anxiously awaiting their time. This debate has been everlasting with the majority of countries removing Capital Punishment from their criminal justice system due to the unfair nature and possibility of mistakes. The room for error in execution is quite large with countless lives being taken despite their innocence in the case. The criminal justice system follows the notion that you are guilty until proving innocence. Many argue it is inhumane and that the taking of a life is social injustice, legalized homicide.

The ethical debate is ongoing, with 53 countries still using the form of punishment. With China committing the most executions per year, it is known it is thousands however there is no exact number due to a lack of recording of these files. Although the Chinese will turn to execution as a punishment much quicker than what other countries such as the United States of America.

The debate in favor of Capital Punishment is that people who are executed would have had a life sentence if it were not legal. A life sentence leaves no room for re-introduction into society and it is often stated that those serving a life sentence are simply draining the economy. On average, incarceration for one person in the United States costs $31 000 per inmate each year. With 2.2 million prisoners, the US spends around $80 billion dollars each year. This $80 billion dollars could be spent on the disappointing health care system, or the insane amounts of homeless people. However, it is being spent on people who have damaged American society. This amount of money includes the cost deducted from executions.

When looking at Australia, execution has been forbidden for over 33 years. Currently, serial killer Ivan Milat is suffering from cancer. He was admitted into the Royal Sydney Hospital to receive treatment for his illnesses unlike the thousands of people who cannot afford this luxury for other sicknesses. How is one who has murdered seven Australians, a social injustice, still more worthy to receive treatment than other Australians?

On the contrary, Capital Punishment is legalized murder. There are many different methods of execution; the lethal injection is the most common method at the moment. The lethal injection includes different injections; include three-drug midazolam-based protocol. This has been deemed as extremely painful and is being investigated to see if it is inhumane. Electrocution is another method that was more commonly used in the past. However, in the United States, on the 15/08/2019, Stephen Michael West was electrocuted. Stephen, at the last minute requested a change to his method of execution. The lawyers fighting for his case stated that although it was unconstitutional it is less painful than the series of injections. West was the first person to be executed by the means of electric chair since 2013. West was 56 years of age and it had been 32 years since his conviction of first degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. His ate his last meal; a Philly Cheesesteak then said his last words while crying in the chair, “In the beginning God created man, And Jesus wept. That’s all.” He was pronounced dead at 7:27 pm. The electric chair is seen as one of the most inhumane methods of murder, thus why it was deemed unconstitutional, the pain that the person experienced during this method of execution, although less than the lethal injection, still extremely painful.

The justice system is supposedly a form of rehabilitation in many countries; they serve their time and then are re-introduced into society to continue with a life, hopefully without crime. However, Capital Punishment is not rehabilitation, no second chances, no care for mistakes or in the moment decisions. You are held accountable for your actions and your life is the price to pay. Not only is capital punishment used to ensure the eternal safety of those countries citizens as there is no opportunity for them to further harm humanity. Capital punishment is also used as justice for the victims of the crime, knowing that a criminal, who has commitment heinous crimes, is not only dying but also suffering during this process. The human condition forces us to want others who have done us wrong to suffer. Capital punishment is a reflection on our desire for revenge.

Feature Article by Bailey Leach