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Response to Patrick should be a “minimum” of 300 words each
(does not count references and or restating what a classmate said)
and include “at least” one properly referenced source each (in
accordance with APA 6th edition.
1. Using the main assumptions of Classical Criminology and or its more modern version
known as Rational Choice Theory, what do you think are the most significant arguments for
and against capital punishment? As part of this Forum Question, and after considering both
sides, should capital punishment be abolished and or retained…and specifically why?
One can argue that capital punishment is warranted and just. Another could argue that
capital punishment is cruel, inhumane, and unjust. This is where a continuous and long
standing debate comes into play. Should capital punishment be retained or abolished? Does
capital punishment actually work? One of the most significant arguments as a proponent of
capital punishment, can be taken as the old adage goes, “an eye for an eye”. “If murder is
the willful deprivation of a victim’s right to life, then the justice system’s willful deprivation
of the criminal’s right to the same is—even if overly severe—a punishment which fits the
most severe crime that can be committed” (Flamehorse, 2013). If a person willfully and
knowingly killed another person, shouldn’t that individual receive the same punishment? We
live in a country where our society has come to state that the punishment should fit the
crime. If someone were to kill another human being, regardless of the circumstance, that
person by all rights, should also be punished with death.
On the other hand, when a person commits a heinous capital crime, knowing that he or
she would be put to death, is it death itself that is punishment that fits the crime, or
anticipating death, that is even worse? When I was younger, and I did something that
deserved a ‘lickin’ or punishment, I truly felt that the anticipation of what could happen to
me was far worse than the actual punishment itself. If I did knowingly do something wrong
in the morning prior to the start of school, my father would tell us to just wait till after
school and think about everything that would happen after we got home. I cannot speak for
anyone else, but I used to wish that I could stay in school forever.
When a pedophile murderer gets incarcerated, I have come to find out that these
inmates are considered the absolute scum of the earth by other housed individuals.
It’s interesting how in jail or prison, the inmates get information relating to housing
movements, fights, other inmates, etc. faster than officers do. In Hawaii, we tend to call
this ‘coconut wireless’. If a pedophile murderer was to come into the facility, that individual
would already be marked, and would get beat up everyday up to the point of eventually
getting killed. Most inmates locked up, even if they come from broken families themselves,
do have children of their own. And when someone arrives into the facility and the inmates
know that that individual purposely hurt and killed a child or children, that pedophile will get
punished severely by other inmates.
I believe capital punishment has its pros and cons, but I am a strong believer in
retaining capital punishment. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 31 or our
50 states still have the death penalty. The United States government as well as the U.S.
military also have the death penalty for capital punishment. I am still an avid supporter in a
tit for tat, an eye for an eye, you get what you give. If someone were to murder or try to
hurt someone on purpose, then that individual should be put to death. Everyone in America
should know Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two Chechan immigrant brothers who
set off explosives at 2013’s Boston Marathon. In an act of terrorism, the brothers killed
three people, and injured another estimated 264 others. Just witnessing that on television,
the first thing that popped into my mind, without any hesitation, was that whoever was
responsible, is going to die or be put to death. If you as an American citizen did not, at that
first very reaction, truly and wholeheartedly feel or think the same exact thing, at least for a
split second, I would argue that you were lying to yourself. Capital punishment is needed,
as it is the end all for some criminals. Every individual on this earth knows that death can
come at any moment. But if you knew exactly when you were going to die, I think the
anticipation of death would be even worse. And knowing that there was nothing you could
do about it, unless that individual decided to take his or her own life, is just as grave a
punishment as the death penalty.
Flamehorse, 2013. 5 Arguments For And Against The Death Penalty. Listverse, Retrieved
Boston Marathon Bombing. Wikipedia,
2. After conducting your own research (e.g., via the online library, Internet, etc) regarding
Classical Criminology and Positivist Criminology, which do you more closely prescribe to and
specifically why?
After doing some research online and through other readings, I find myself to be more in
line with the Classical Criminological form of thinking versus the Positivist. “The Classical
School of Criminology is premised on the theory that people have free will in formulating
decisions, and that punishment is capable of deterring crime, so long as it is carried out
without delay and is appropriate and in proportion to the crime committed” (Criminology).
The Positivist school of or criminological thinking takes the position that one’s actions and
behavior, are cause by his or her background and environment and that individuals are
inherently good, but society turns them bad.
I strongly believe in the classical theory of free will. Every person has choices and has
the ability to make a choice. Every person has the ability to make certain choices, whether
it is to selfishly benefit themselves, or ends up benefiting others. People also have the free
will to decide if he or she is going to do something, knowing that it could be a punishable
act. As an every day example, I am glad that my truck is Bluetooth capable. However, prior
to purchasing my truck, if my wife or work were to call, would I pick up the mobile phone
and answer while driving? Of course! The dilemma I would have in that split second of
answering my phone would be, do I answer it now or pull over to the side of the street, in
the middle of rush hour traffic, and lose my spot in line? Should I not pick up the phone,
and have my wife worry and wonder why I’m not answering the phone, and deal with the
repercussions later? Or if it was work calling, do I miss a chance to work overtime, knowing
that I have a sizable credit card bill due this month? Or, do I not pick up the phone, because
I know that it is against Hawaii state law to drive and use your mobile device, and if caught
by a police officer, I could end up paying a $200 fine. Or, knowing that I am a corrections
officer by trade, even if I were to get pulled over, that hopefully a fellow brother or sister in
blue would understand my dilemma of answering my phone while driving, and not issue me
a ticket. All of these questions happen instantaneously, as I would and have done many
times, answered my phone while driving. Now, is it against the law? Yes. Did I know and
understand the law? Yes. Did I freely and willfully break the law? Yes. Did I care? Yes I did.
But I chose to answer the phone, knowing the repercussions and punishment that could
happen. I chose to act a certain way because I felt that could get away with it, and have
thus far. Now, if I were to have received a ticket for using my mobile phone while driving
one of those many times that I did, would I think twice about doing so after that? Definitely.
The same goes for the classical theory. Every individual has the free will to make
choices. Some of those individuals do not like dealing with the repercussions and choose to
point the finger at someone else. But the simple fact is, he or she had a choice and made it.
If that person committed a crime or was in the process of committing a crime, that
individual knows that he or she could be arrested, and possibly incarcerated. But they
choose to do what they did, and made that choice none the less.
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