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2009 What is the death penalty and is it right? Main aim: To understand the history of the death penalty and start to consider whether it is right or wrong. Death penalty/ capital punishment = The state takes the life of a person for the crime they have committed ie. murder


Starter • Justice and Punishments Worksheet


Death penalty Quiz‌ 1. How many countries in the world still retain and use the death penalty? A) 10 B) 109 C) 78 2. How many countries in the world have abolished the death penalty since 1990? A) none B) 35 C) 10 3. After abolishing it, how many countries have subsequently reintroduced the death penalty? A) 1 B) 3 C) 4 4. How many people were legally executed in 2002? A) less than 100 B) 500-1000 C) over 1500 5. 81% of these executions took place in: A) 3 countries B) 1 country C) 10 countries 6. Which country has carried out the greatest number of known executions against child offenders? A) USA B) China C) Saudi Arabia 7. What effect does abolition of the death penalty have on crime rates? A) a rise in crime rates B) a fall in crime rates C) no noticeable change


Answers ‌ 1. How many countries in the world still retain and use the death penalty? C; over half the countries in the world (117) have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. 2. How many countries in the world have abolished the death penalty since 1990? B; Amnesty International statistics actually say that ‘more than 35’ have abolished it since 1990.

3. After abolishing it, how many countries have subsequently reintroduced the death penalty? Correct answer: C Nepal, the Philippines, Gambia and Papua New Guinea reintroduced it. 4. How many people were legally executed in 2002? C; Amnesty International knows of 1526 executions in 31 countries. A further 3248 people were sentenced to death. 5. 81% of these executions took place in: A; China, Iran, USA 6. Which country has carried out the greatest number of known executions against child offenders? USA has carried out 19 executions of children since 1990. International human rights treaties prohibit anyone under the age of 18 at the time of the crime being sentenced to death. 7. What effect does abolition of the death penalty have on crime rates? B and C; in some countries there has been little change. In Canada, homicide rates were at an all-time high the year before abolition; since abolition they have continued to decrease. There is no evidence for an increase in crime in any country as a result of abolishing the death penalty.


Facts About Capital Punishment Throughout history the death penalty has existed in lots of different societies. The Romans, for example crucified murderers and those guilty of treason. In 18th century England there were over 200 crimes punishable by death, including stealing a loaf of bread or stealing someone’s sheep! Over time there were many reforms and punishments were made less severe, although the death penalty remained for most forms of murder until 1957. It was then reduced to 4 different circumstances‌ can you guess what they were? 1. 2. 3. 4. In 1965 Parliament abolished the death penalty for a trial period of 5 years and in 1969 abolished it altogether. In 1994. The last vote on re-introduction of the death penalty was defeated by 403 votes to 159. However, in just under 50% of countries the death penalty is still legal, including in America.


Jamie Bulger • On 12th February 1993 Jon Venables and Robert Thompson stole a baby from a Liverpool shopping centre. They would torture and eventually kill him, leaving his lifeless body near a railway track. The killers were only ten years old.


Derek Bentley • In 1953, during a bungled robbery at a warehouse in in Croydon, Surrey, PC Sidney Mills was shot dead. Derek Bentley (left) was hung for murder. • It was actually his codefendant Christopher Craig who fired the fatal shot, but because he was still a juvenile in the eyes of the law, he escaped the death penalty.


Tony Martin •

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Tony lived alone in a farm called Bleak House. He was fearful of crime but told friends he was willing to defend his property. When two burglars broke into his property he opened fire with an illegally held pump action shot gun, killing Fred Barras and seriously injuring Brendan Fearon. Fred was shot in the back from 12 feet. Tony Martin was imprisoned because the Jurors believed he was not defending his property, but taking the law into his own hands.


Arguments for Capital punishment

Arguments against Capital punishment


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Arguments for Capital punishment

It is the proper form of retribution for someone who has taken the life of another person Some people are so violent that they only understand violence as a deterrent. Putting a murderer to death is the only effective way to protect society, especially the vulnerable. A life sentence does not mean life and so most murderers will be free to harm others at some point in the future. Giving a life sentence costs taxpayers a fortune. Almost every ancient society practised it and half the world still does.

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Arguments against Capital punishment

We know innocent people have been executed unjustly. God gives life and only He should have the right to take it away. There is no clear evidence that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. In 80% of murders the victim knew the murderer well, often belonging to the same family. Domestic murderers are highly unlikely to carry out another act of violence. Executing people who have killed for political reasons would turn them into martyrs, which would in turn lead to more deaths. Execution is barbaric. Life is sacred and should not be taken in this way in a civilized society.


• http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/executedoff enders.htm

The Death Penalty  

The Death Penalty

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