Death penalty has over many centuries been an absolute part of the society that humans are in and it has been legal for many years and has even been regarded as a necessary prevention to hazardous crimes. Moreover, it has been taken as a way to deliberate the communities from dangerous criminals. However, with time, this act came to be regarded as an offense against humanistic values by many, and its validity in the legal system was greatly questioned. Up to date the debate still rages on. Countries like China, Iran, Belarus and USA still use death penalty on the criminals while other countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada and almost all European countries have stopped using this type of punishment.
Death penalty also called execution or capital punishment is termed as the judicial process of inflicting death on a person as a punishment for a crime they may have done. In the history, execution has been used in almost all societies to punish criminals or restrain criminal opposition. It is usually done on capital offenses like murder, adultery, sodomy, incest, rape, treason and also in military justice. It is also used by some religions like Islamic for an apostasy crime.
From the date of the recorded history, the execution was still practiced. In most of these tribes recordings, kingdoms and societies, this punishment was a justice system to the community for the offense done. Examples from the earliest history recordings on use of death penalty are like the Jewish law also referred to as Torah or the Christians Old Testament. It has laid down the offenses that were punished by execution. This punishments included use of magic, violation of Sabbath rules, murder, kidnapping, sexual crimes and blasphemy.
Another historic evidence of use of death penalty is in Ancient Greece. The Athenian's legal system written in 621 BC had included execution for varying crimes. These laws were later revised by a person called Solon and only homicide was left punishable by execution. Moreover, Ancient Roman Empire used execution as a form of punishment for various crimes. Other kingdoms mostly in Asia communities used this type of punishment also.
Coming in modern history, modern Europe before there was development of prison systems as they are today, death penalty was greatly used for almost all crimes. For instances, in Henry VIII era, more than 72,000 people were executed. Also in 18th century, 222 offenses were punishable by death even if it entailed cutting down trees. Although today's China is known to be the country executing most people in the world, during the Tang Dynasty, the execution form of punishment had been abolished (Hogg, 2009).
In old china the most widely used form of execution are decapitation and strangulation. Moreover, they could also scourge a person with a thick shaft to death. Also they could use truncation, where a person was cut into two parts from the waist. Lastly, they used slow slicing where a person was cut many times until they died from bleeding. But all this forms were abolished 1905 and replaced by modern methods of execution.
Despite being widely used the revolution of modern society saw emergence of people who opposed this punishment. One is Moses Maimonides of 12th century who argued that it was better to acquit many people that kill one innocent person. He added that use of death penalty led to investigation to those crimes being ignored; hence many people were executed while they were innocent. From then, modern nations states have come up leading to increase of equality and rights to all. Execution was in many countries taken from public places to excluded areas as they were termed to end up increasing violent to the public (Adam, 1983).
In some modern times, mostly in military cases, execution has been applied extensively. For instance, the Soviets during the World War II they executed 158,000 military men for desertion. Still under military, in the past, absence without leave, cowardice, insubordination, looting, disobeying orders and desertion were offenses punishable by execution. For many of this since introduction of fire arms were done using a firing squad. This form of execution was also applied in those who opposed a government. For instance, still in Soviets revolution, between 1937 and 1938, it is estimated that there used to occur at average 1000 executions per day through use of firing squads.
To many of those communities that used to practice this kind of punishment, they supported it by stating that it was ensuring that the criminals did not repeat any other crime again, it was a just penalty for the crimes committed and also that it provided closure to the loved ones or the surviving victims. To others, it was cheap compared to life imprisonment and that it ensured others did not commit the same offense again.
Methods of executions used in ancient times were very painful and in the modern times new methods have been invented that are less painful and fast. To support this in England, in earlier days they used to hang a person in front of a crowd after a long solemn speech, this was later replaced by use of guillotine that was fast. In Britain, hanging by removing a stool or a ladder for the victim to suffocate was replaced by long drop where the person was dropped in a way that their spinal cord and neck were dislocated. In Persia, throat cutting was replaced by use of guns. In USA, gas chambers and electric chairs were introduced as methods that are more humane than hanging but they were overtaken by lethal injection (William, 2002).
Some other form of executions that were used or are still used include beheading, where the head is separated from the body, it is mostly used in countries following Islamic Sharia laws like Saudi Arabia. Second is stoning, it is still applied today in counties following Islamic Sharia Laws. Third is use of Garotte. It was applied in earlier times where the device was used to strangle a person to death. This device was used in Spain until in 1978 when it was abolished.
It is clearly evident that execution is still in practice up to date even though many try to see it as being against human rights as every person has a right to live. To many, some of the criminals are extremely dangerous and even by imprisoning them for life, It is still dangerous hence the need to execute them for the safety of other people. The methods of executing these offenders should be made such that they become faster and painless if they are to be used.