The Death Penalty Debate Continues...

by Demari Stevens

The ongoing debate about the death penalty has reached new heights in recent week as the Prime Minister and senior government officials have spoken strong words about the reintroduction of capital punishment.

All my life I have debated this topic with friends, family and even elders, but by about the age of fifteen I felt strongly that there was a need for a death penalty. I believed that if a man could look at someone and take their life then they should also lose their life; not go to prison and eat three meals a day, which is only costing the government money that comes from tax payers. That would mean that the family of the deceased would be feeding the person who murdered their loved one. But that was at age fifteen when my reasoning was that of an ignorant teenager.

In light of the economic pressures that Jamaica is experiencing and the struggles that people have to face each and every day it may be quite easy for a person who is feeling depressed and hopeless to take a life, if angered extensively. We never really know what another person is going through; we are just onlookers, yet still we judge. When faced with minute pressures each day, we who judge others crumble under the pressure, often taking it out on our children and other family members. The reason we don’t kill is because we have been educated and socialized to deal with life’s pressures; not every one is so fortunate.

With all that said, I believe the death penalty should not be handed down to a man that have been found guilty for one murder, as this could have been a mistake or the result of cracking under immense pressure. Such a person should be given a prison sentence with hard time. In the case of a man found guilty of committing a series of murders then surely he should lose his life. He is a cold-hearted murderer who should not have the ‘privilege’ of languishing in jail and enjoying a better life style than many people on the streets.

There is also the hot sub-topic of innocent people being sentenced to death, but that is a whole other debate.

In closing, my final stance is that there is a place for the death penalty but there must be legislation to guide how it is handed down. There are many drawbacks to the reintroduction of capital punishment but there are also many gruesome murders where jail time will not satisfy the aching hearts of those who have lost loved ones.