Capital Punishment misc2 Essay

This essay has a total of 1750 words and 9 pages.

Capital Punishment misc2

Crime and Punishment

From the beginning of time, crime has been evident in human existence, and from the first
crime there has always been a punishment. “And it came to pass, when they were in a
field, that Cain rose up against his brother, Able, and slew him” (Genesis 4:8). This for
many people was seen as the first crime. This crime did not go unpunished. Cain was then
ostracized from his colony and sent to wonder as a vagabond and a fugitive for his crime
(Genesis 4:14). He was also branded with the mark of a murderer. Therefore, the presence
of crime in human life is inevitable.

Defined in Webster’s Dictionary, crime is, an act of violation against society and its
laws. Punishment is the consequence of the crime. Crimes like fraud, burglary, assault,
etc., are usually punished by prison terms. Murder, manslaughter, and homicide maybe
punished by prison terms or death.

Ways to be executed
Electrocution-the three legged oak chair was constructed in 1923 by inmates and is still
used today. (ironic isn’t it?) The electrocution cycle is two minutes or shorter in
duration. Voltage and amperage levels peak on three occasions. Maximum current is 2000
volts and 14 amps. The executioner is an anonymous, private citizen who is paid $150 per
execution. The position of executioner was advertised in several Florida newspapers in

Lethal Injection-execution by lethal injection involves the continuous intravenous
injection of a lethal quantity of a short-acting barbiturate in combination with a
chemical paralytic agent. A number of doctors have pointed out that drugs may not work
effectively on diabetics or former drug users, whose veins may be hard to reach. In some
cases minor surgery may be required to cut in to a deeper vein, according to medical
testimony. More states use this form of execution than all US states.

Gas Chamber-prisoner is restrained in a hermetically sealed steel chamber below which is a
pan. Upon a signal, the executioner opens a valve, flowing hydrochloric acid into the
pan. On a second signal, about 8 ounces of potassium cyanide crystals or tablets are
dropped mechanically into the acid, producing hydrocyanic gas, which destroys the ability
of blood hemoglobin to perform. Unconsciousness occurs within a few seconds if the
prisoner takes a deep breath, and longer if he or she holds their breath. After
pronouncement of death, the chamber is evacuated through carbon and neutralizing filters.
Gas-masked crews decontaminate the body with a bleach solution and outgassed prior to
release. An unwary undertaker could be killed if this is not done. States using this
method: Arizona, California, Maryland, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Hanging-prisoner is weighing prior to execution. The “drop” is based on the prisoner's
weight, to deliver 1260 foot-pounds of force to the neck. Essentially, the prisoner's
weight in pounds is divided into 1260 to arrive at a drop in feet. This is to assure
almost instant death, a minimum of bruising, and neither strangulation nor beheading.
Properly done, death is by dislocation of the third or fourth cervical vertebrae. The
familiar noose coil is placed behind the prisoner’s left ear, so as to snap the neck upon
dropping. States using this method: Delaware, Montana and Washington.

Firing Squad-there is reportedly no protocol for the procedure which according to
information involves a five man team, one of who will use a blank bullet so that none of
them knows who was the real executioner. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty two
prisoners have been executed by this method. Gary Gilmore in 1977 and John Taylor in
1996. There are only two states who use this method. They include Utah and Idaho.

Who’s in Federal Prison? statistics found in 1991
5% of prisoners were women
65% of prisoners belonged to racial or ethnic minorities
68% of prisoners were under age 35
96% of prison inmates were US citizens
59% of prison inmates has high school diplomas or its equivalent
less than half of the inmates were sentenced for a violent crime (assault, murder, rape),
a fourth were sentenced for a property crime (burglary, vandalism), about a fifth were
sentenced for a drug crime (self explanatory)

Who’s in State Prison? statistics found in 1996
10% of prisoners were women (statistics show that prisoners were sexually or physically abused before admission)
63% of prisoners belonged to racial or ethnic minorities
24% of prisoners were between the ages of 35 and 44 (therefore 54% of inmates were under the age of 35)
about 8% of inmates were not US citizens
54% of inmates have a high school diploma or its equivalent
a fourth were held for violent crime, a fourth for property crime, and a fifth were held for drug crime
a quarter of jail inmates report having been treated at some time for an emotional or mental problem

Comparison of Federal to State prisons (1991)
women (8% vs. 5%)
Hispanic (28% vs. 17%)
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