Example academic essay: The Death Penalty. This essay shows many important features which commonly appear in essays.
Should the death penalty be restored in the UK?
The restoration of the death penalty for serious crimes is an issue of debate in the UK because of the recent rise in violent crime. The causes, effects and solutions to the problems of violent crime throw up a number of complex issues which are further complicated by the way that crime is reported. Newspapers often sensationalise crime in order to increase circulation and this makes objective discussion more difficult. This essay will examine this topic firstly by considering the arguments put forward by those in favour of the death penalty and then by looking at the arguments opposed to the idea.
The main arguments in favour of restoring the death penalty are those of deterrence and retribution: the theory is that people will be dissuaded from violent crime if they know they will face the ultimate punishment and that people should face the same treatment that they gave out to others. Statistics show that when the death penalty was temporarily withdrawn in Britain between 1965 and 1969 the murder rate increased by 125% (Clark, 2005). However, we need to consider the possibility that other reasons might have lead to this rise. Amnesty International (1996) claims that it is impossible to prove that capital punishment is a greater deterrent than being given a life sentence in prison and that “evidence….gives no support to the evidence hypothesis theory.” It seems at best that the deterrence theory is yet to be proven. The concept of ‘retribution’ is an interesting one: there is a basic appeal in the simple phrase ‘the punishment should fit the crime’. Calder (2003) neatly summarises this argument when he says that killers give up their rights when they kill and that if punishments are too lenient then it shows that we undervalue the right to live. There are other points too in support of the death penalty, one of these being cost. It is obviously far cheaper to execute prisoners promply rather than feed and house them for years on end.
The arguments against the death penalty are mainly ethical in their nature, that it is basically wrong to kill and that when the state kills it sends out the wrong message to the rest of the country. Webber (2005) claims that the death penalty makes people believe that ‘killing people is morally permissable’. This is an interesting argument – would you teach children not to hit by hitting them? Wouldn’t this instead show them that hitting was indeed ‘permissable’? There is also the fact that you might execute innocent people. Innocent people can always be released from prison, but they can never be brought back from the dead. When people have been killed there is no chance of rehabilitation or criminals trying to make up for crimes. For this reason capital punishment has been called ‘the bluntest of blunt instruments’ (Clark, 2005).
In conclusion, the arguments put forward by people who support or are against the death penalty often reflect their deeper principles and beliefs. These beliefs and principles are deeply rooted in life experiences and the way people are brought up and are unlikely to be swayed by clever arguments. It is interesting that in this country most people are in favour of the death penalty yet parliament continues to oppose it. In this case it could be argued that parliament is leading the way in upholding human rights and continues to broadcast the clear message that killing is always wrong.
You should be able to see that this essay consists of:
An introduction in three parts:
1. A sentence saying why the topic is interesting and relevant.
2. A sentence (or two) mentioning the difficulties and issues involved in the topic.
3. An outline of the essay.
Main paragraphs with:
1. A topic sentence which gives a main idea/argument which tells us what the whole paragraph is about.
2. Evidence from outside sources which support the argument(s) put forward in the topic sentence.
3. Some personal input from the author analysing the points put forward in the topic sentence and the outside sources.
Summarises the main points and gives an answer to the question.
Argumentative Essay on Capital Punishment
Although People think Capital punishment is against human's rights for life and it is cruel to not give the criminals another chance, I think capital punishment is still an effective way to deter violent criminals, because it can give comfort to the victims and their families, it will reduce the government's financial spending, and it is a huge warning for the criminals in order to reduce murder rate.
Capital punishment is necessary in order for justice to prevail. It is the execution of criminals for committing crimes. However, there are few controversies and opposite views. Many people think that capital punishment is against human's rights for life. It is as same as murder; the only difference is just between government killing and individual killing. The anti-capital punishment people believe that everyone might make mistakes in their lives, also everyone should have chance to correct their mistakes. It is too cruel to bereave people's chance to change. It is also too cruel to make the families of people who got capital punishment trap in sadness. If the criminals have chances to change, maybe they can become instructive for the society and make contributions for the society. It is true that capital punishment deprives criminal's lives and chances, but capital punishment does make more benefits for the social stability and social structure.
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First, capital punishment can give comfort to the victims and their families, and it might make the victims or the victim's families feel better knowing that the criminal will never be able to hurt anyone ever again. If the criminals didn't get capital punishment, it will upset the victim's family and cause panic to them because of the possibility of revenge. Also, the victim's family will feel unfair and unjust. They will ask why the person who destroys their family can still alive, but they have to suffering the pain. And if the victim's family feels dissatisfied with the judgment, they may think about to revenge by themselves. This will make chaos and more crimes in the society. Then, more miserable events will happen.
Second, capital punishment can reduce government's financial spending. Every year, the government should spend huge amount of money for sustain the prisoners alive in the prison. For those criminals who will stay in the prison for their whole life because of their serious crimes, the government should sustain them for the rest of their lives. The prisoners get free meals, clothes, bed, electricity, air conditioning and heating, cable and many other luxuries that make it a comfortable place to live. Many people believe that criminals live in prison are better than other peoples hard earned money. Also, there are still many innocent poor people live in poverty. Think about it, which one is worth? Should we give help to the prisoners who did serious crimes or give help to those homeless, children living in poverty and people who lose their jobs? The answer is obvious. Without spend money to maintain the prisoners who should receive capital punishment, the government can reduce their stress and use the money to create jobs, help people who live in poverty and promote the development of the country.
Third, capital punishment is a huge warning for the criminals in order to reduce murder rate. It deters murder and prevents murderers from killing again by putting the fear of death in to their minds. It also can make examples out of offenders so that the threat of death will be enough to stop them from committing such horrible crimes. People are less likely to do something if they think that harm will come to them. Therefore, the criminals should think of the consequences before they kill someone. They have the responsibility for their horrible behaviors. If they use their mind to think about this instead of just killed someone for their desire, they probably are intelligent enough to make positive impacts on the world. People might feel that sentencing them to life in prison is punishment enough.
In conclusion, Punishment by death is the ultimate punishment and one that cannot be taken back. Criminals who did serious crimes deserve to die and not stay in jail. Some people say that killing in any form is absolutely wrong. Some people agree that killing is wrong, however, if one person kills another, capital punishment is what they deserve. To give a criminal the death penalty would reassure the people close to the victim it would not happen again. Also it gives them the feeling that the death has been avenged. A family will feel less pain if the killer dies like he should. In addition, give capital punishment can save lots of money for the government to maintain the serious criminals for their whole life in prison. People can use the money to accomplish some more constructive affairs. Capital punishment also makes criminals think about whether committing a crime is really worth their lives or not. Capital punishment ensures peace of mind to the world because it ensures that murders will never kill again.
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