The death penalty - the arguments for and against
- 21 September 2011
In some countries it is legal to kill someone if they have committed a terrible crime. This is called a death sentence, or the death penalty.
It is not legal in Britain.
There are lots of reasons why people think it's right or wrong.
Here are some of the arguments:
Arguments for the death penalty
- If someone murders someone else, they have given up their human rights, including the one to stay alive themselves
- The punishment should 'fit the crime' - if you have killed someone, you should be killed too
- Giving a killer the death sentence will stop them - and others - doing it again
- The very small chance of executing the wrong person is balanced by the benefits to society of putting off other murderers
Arguments against the death penalty
- The death penalty goes against our most basic human right - the right to life
- Being killed by lethal injection or being electrocuted is not always smooth and painless, sometimes it causes a painful death
- No-one has ever proven with numbers that killing murderers stops other people committing similar crimes
- Mistakes are sometimes made in the law - what if someone is killed who is actually innocent?