Should the UK have the death penalty? Closer’s writers go head-to-head in a debate…

Following the botched execution of a death row inmate in America, Closer writers have debated whether or not the UK should bring back the death penalty...


by Closer staff |
Published on

Should we have the death penalty? No, says Kayleigh Dray

It's all very well to say that we should impose a death sentence on murderers, rapists and paedophiles - and these are all truly heinous crimes - but there are so many reasons why we shouldn't stoop as low as these criminals.

Firstly, there is absolutely NO way to remedy any mistakes. It's rare, but think of all the people who have been found 'not guilty' of their crimes years later and released from prison. So what would happen if we had someone killed for a crime they didn't commit? How would you apologise to their families?

Secondly, how do we decide what deserves a death sentence - or who? Would we send a pregnant woman to death row for murdering her husband? Would a young teenager who drunkenly pushed a man to the ground, accidentally killing him, be put to death?

Thirdly, there's the fact that we CANNOT limit the death penalty to the worst possible cases. We can't say "this one really deserves to die" and ignore others; it's impossible to write a law which will only apply to the Huntleys, Mansons and Adebolajos of this world. How do we decide what is more 'extreme'? Which circumstances are more exceptional? The law needs to be fair, just and applicable to everyone.

Finally there's the fact that the death penalty gives some of the worst offenders publicity that they do NOT deserve - and that they have craved. Take, for instance, the killers of Lee Rigby; they admitted in court that they wanted to be shot dead by police so they could become martyrs for their cause. Why give people what they want? Why not leave them in prison, to be eaten away by their own guilt, to have their liberties taken away from them, giving them all the time in the world to think about what they've done - and hate themselves for it?

Why should we reduce ourselves to the same low standards as these criminals? We are against killing. We are opposed to killing and violence. But, when judging those who commit these atrocities, we end up acting against our consciences. if life is sacred, we do not have the right to take life - that would make us hypocrites and bring us down to their level.

**Yes, says Fiona Day


I believe the death penalty should be enforced as a punishment in exceptional circumstances.

This punishment is an understandable option, when the crime has been so horrific that it is almost impossible to reform the prisoner or integrate them in the prison system.

Cases such as Charles Manson’s series of horrific murders and Ian Brady's unthinkable murders of innocent children are examples where I believe the death sentence may be applicable.

Carrying out a death sentence can help victims’ families find some closure and feel that justice has finally been carried out.

The death sentence also means that taxpayers aren’t funding the state to look after people who have committed crimes evil beyond comprehension.

Capital punishment can also act as a deterrent when it comes to serious crimes. Certain states in the US, as well as 28 other countries including popular holiday destinations such as Thailand and Jamaica still enforce the death penalty and it's hard to believe that the possibility of being sentenced to death won't act as a deterrent.

American academic Isaac Ehrlich carried out a study that found the death penalty acts as a deterrent, with 7 murders being prevented for every murderer put to death.

Many hardened criminals see prison as a form of holiday and security- what would a life sentence mean to them?

Why should someone who has taken someone else’s life in a horrific way, be entitled to their own?

Which of our writers do you agree with? Let us know via the Comments Box below now.

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