Sample Essay on the Death Penalty

Question 1

Classical Criminology or its modern version that is Rational Choice Theory depicts significant arguments that supports and opposes capital punishment. According to the rational choice theory, people are motivated by their personal needs and objectives to meet their interests. In most cases, individuals who are rational select actions that grant them great satisfaction.

Significant arguments concerning the death penalty are that they serve justice purposes and impart changes in society. Rational Choice Theory depict that it is expensive to handle capital punishment cases. They incorporate various stages such as time spend in court, declaring sentencing period and the actual execution. Due to the number of appeals that results from mishaps in the case, aiming for death penalty can take many years to last. As a result, a capital sentence may be reduced to life imprisonment, which mostly happens without parole. In this circumstance, the significant argument for capital punishment is to ensure that no more murders are committed. This revolves around individuals who once murdered and were given a parole whereby they later return to community to repeat the same mistake.

Considering both sides of the argument, I support the retention of death penalty or capital punishment.  This is specifically because it reduces the rate of crime in society, whereby criminal who committed murder can never get the opportunity to repeat the mistake. Capital punishment should not be abolished because it increases a sense of security and enhances human rights. In my opinion, death penalty is significant in the current system of justice as it frightens offenders especially murderers to stay away from illegal activities (Lansford, 2010).  I recommend capital punishment because it depicts fairness to the victims who were killed or whom their family members were murdered.

Furthermore, if death penalty is not retained this will be an indirect way of encouraging individuals to murder others as they don’t require to pay for what they have committed. As a result, individuals will not fear facing punishment because they know that other sentences are less serious. In regard to this condition, I think that it is not fair to abolish capital punishment. Another reason why death penalty should be retained is that it will scare individuals in society to become the next victims if the murderer still hangs around.  In some instances, a killer who is imprisoned for a long duration may not change his character. This implies that incase he comes out of prison; he will still be a cruel killer.

I advocate for capital punishment to be retained to safeguard human rights because no one has rights to deprive life of others. Opponents of death penalty should understand that executing the life of a criminal is not murder but punishment by society for his deeds. In this aspect, my perception is that the justice system should protect the basic rights of human beings and exclude those of criminals (Nolen, 2009).  Death penalty should be reserved to keep people on the right path and protect the entire society from murder. In my opinion, capital punishment should be the last line of defense to be subjected to serious criminal offenders.

Question 2

Research indicates that biological environmental and psychological aspects motivate individuals to indulge into crimes. Theorists of Classical Criminology model reveal that criminals engage in intelligent thoughts before they commit crimes. This implies that people who are involved in crime already have risks and consequences in mind before they commit a crime. In this regard, the theory suggests more promising ways to reduce crimes (Kolby, 2012).  This is through studying decisions that offenders make when executing illegal acts and steps to reduce chances that could lead to offences.

In matters that concern death penalty or capital punishment, this theory weighs the action in relation to benefits of killing an individual. This could be for revenge or financial gain against the threat of dying. Rational choice approach for death penalty ensures that offenders don’t make the decision to murder others. This is due to the threat that as criminals they would end up dying in government hands.  Its argument against capital punishment is that a criminal may commit murder with knowledge that he will be subjected to death penalty. However, this may not actually take place because capital punishment is not granted at all times for individuals who kill others.

As a result, the argument connected with rational choice theory has received numerous criticisms for offering solutions to prevent capital punishment. The reason why the theory argues against death penalty is contributed by the justice system. For instance, a person who kills his wife because he found her cheating does not necessarily mean he automatically deserves capital punishment. In this case, the offender may hire a powerful lawyer who may challenge the jury and survive death penalty.

Classical criminology is a model that applies in the legal system and gives explanation why individuals commit crimes (Nolen, 2009). It also provides ways in which communities should combat crime effectively. This theory incorporates concepts that play significant functions in the legal systems of various states. In the era when classical criminology theory was developed, officials in the judiciary system lacked extensive training. As a result, they prescribed punishments out of proportion to some acts and ignored others.

The development of this theory led to a uniform and advanced justice system. Based on theorists view, human beings portray self interest and are extremely rational. This leads to a situation where many societies embrace a social contract that dictates human character. Humans indulge into a mutual agreement that makes them refrain from activities that hurt others in a community. Classical criminology ensures that it incorporates consistent punishments that are proportional to a crime that is committed.

Positivist criminology refers to study of human characters in relation to external factors. According to this model, criminals are born as they are but not made to be into the situation. This implies that the nature of a person contributes to his deeds. In addition, the positive criminologist model does not determine the duty of free will when it comes to criminal activities (Kolby, 2012).

The theory that I closely prescribe to is classical criminology. This is specifically because the approach incorporates concepts that play significant functions in the legal systems of various states by combating crime in an effective manner. Furthermore, this theory depicts significance of the legal system by giving an explanation why individuals commit crimes. Due to its transformation, the theory has enhanced a uniform and advanced justice system. It advocates for a situation that permits individuals to indulge into a mutual agreement. In return, this enables them to refrain from activities that hurt others in a community. I specifically prefer Classical criminology because it incorporates consistent punishments that relate to an offence.


Kolby, M.  (2012). Rational Choice Theory. London: University Press.

Lansford, T.  (2010). Capital Punishment. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Nolen, H. (2009). Positivist Criminology. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publication