Are There Grounds to Justify Capital Punishment? Analytical Essay by Nicky

Are There Grounds to Justify Capital Punishment?
A critical analysis of capital punishment from the utilitarian, deontological and moral theories.
# 149662 | 1,257 words | 11 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 28, 2011 in Philosophy (Ethics) , Hot Topics (Capital Punishment) , Ethics (General)

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The paper explains the utilitarian, deontological and moral approaches to capital punishment and shows how the utilitarian theory is the only one that offers enough justification in cases of barbaric violence (terror acts and serial killers) where there is a serious risk to national and public safety. The paper shows how in all other cases, there are no utilitarian grounds to justify capital punishment, and so alternative methods of corrective behavior and recidivism control should be vigorously pursued.

Capital Punishment
The Utilitarian Viewpoint
Deontological Perspective

From the Paper:

"The Utilitarian approach views all suffering as 'intrinsically evil' and hence the effort is to seek to minimize the suffering and maximize the happiness to the society. Since capital punishment causes suffering to the criminal it needs further justification for approval. Therefore, under the Utilitarian line of thought, capital punishment is acceptable only if it would serve to reduce recidivism and thereby contribute to the overall wellbeing of the society. Also, the Utilitarian perspective deems it necessary to assess all other forms of punishments, which could result in the greater good for the society while at the same time cause minimal harm to the convicted person. Therefore weighing the effects of long-term incarceration against capital punishment in terms of the deterrent value is central to the Utilitarian argument on death penalty. By inducing the fear of punishment and by making convicted criminals "incapable of committing future crimes', death penalty serves the utilitarian principle of reducing the suffering and increasing the greater happiness of the society. [Jeff Strayer] Utilitarianism, is therefore a purely consequentialist approach that approves any act based on its usefulness to the society. In other words, under the utilitarian perspective the beneficial effects of death penalty overweigh any considerations of ethical or moral rightfulness."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics (2009), 'Executions: Key Facts at a Glance', Accessed August 2nd 2009, Available at,
  • Amnesty International (2009)' More Executions in Japan as other countries Reject the Death penalty', Accessed 2nd Aug 2009, Available at,
  • Jeff Strayer, 'Utilitarianism and Retributivism on the Death Penalty', Accessed Aug 3rd 2009, Available at,
  • Shepherd, Joanna, (June 2004), 'Murders of Passion: Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment. Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 283-321
  • DPIC, (2009), 'Facts about Death Penalty', Accessed 3rd Aug 2009, Available at,

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Are There Grounds to Justify Capital Punishment? (2011, December 28) Retrieved March 23, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Are There Grounds to Justify Capital Punishment?" 28 December 2011. Web. 23 March. 2023. <>