Crime is a social act that offends the laws of society. There are lots of causes for people carrying out crime, whether it is because they are so poor they commit robberies to survive or because they are mentally unbalanced and do not realise the difference between right and wrong.There are lots of ways to punish the criminals but it isn’t all about punishing them. Punishment can be used as a deterrent to stop the criminal committing crime and also to stop others as well. Punishment can also be a form of retribution or revenge on criminals for their behaviour. Some people for the case of capital punishment believe that the law should be based on the idea of “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” In simple terms what you do wrong should be done back to you. E.g. if you kill someone, you should be killed also. This view can be backed up in the bible in the book of Leviticus chapter 24:17-20. It says:”If the person strikes another and kills him, he must be put to death. Whoever strikes an animal and kills it is to make restitution, life for life. If anyone injures and disfigures a fellow countryman it must be done to him as he has done- Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”It makes them suffer for their crime that they have committed.It can also be a form of protection to society from the criminal. The criminal could be dangerous and it could be for the public’s safety and the criminal’s well being if he is punished. It is the protection of society from anti social behaviour; the criminal is therefore separated from society. Punishment can also be a form of reformation, so they can change the criminal’s ways and make him/her less likely to commit another crime. This could involve working with the criminal to understand why they carried out the crime and changing their attitude or circumstances to assure themselves that the same crime will not be carried out again.So basically there are five main reasons for punishment. When a punishment is given it tries to fulfil at least one of these aims:The Theory of Deterrence: to put a criminal of re offending. Also the punishment that the criminal receives will put others off from committing the crime too.The Theory of Retribution: If somebody commits a crime then they should receive a punishment that is fitting for the crime that they have committed, this is where the saying ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ comes from.The Theory of Protection: Punishments can be used to protect society from somebody’s anti-social behaviour. This type of punishment can also be designed to protect the offenders against themselves.The Theory of Reform: People who commit crimes often need all sorts of help. The punishment that they receive should be a kind that will prevent them from committing further crimes, and make them responsible citizens who have something to offer societyCapital Punishment has been recognised as a civilised way of disposing of their unwanted criminals by most countries at one time in their history. This can be done through hanging, beheading or even by using injections. Slowly countries that claim it is uncivilised to kill people for crimes they have committed have abolished the death penalty. Capital punishment has now been abolished in the u.k. In 1975 the British government ruled that only certain types of crime were extreme enough for the death penalty to be the only option available. These offences were killing police officers, using guns or explosives, killing two or more people and killing during a robbery. In 1965 after much debate capital punishment was suspended for a 5-year trial period. In 1970 it was permanently abolished. One of the debated reasons was because of the way the law condemns murder, but then goes on to murder in the name of the law. Punishing murder by murder is not right. (Two wrongs don’t make a right) That’s one reason against the case of capital punishment.Another reason why some people are against the thought of bringing it back is because of the role terrorism plays in our society. If a terrorist was caught and punished by death then it would turn the convicted criminal into a martyr. This is not right, making these political extremists into martyrs. Surely it would be better to imprison these people and at the same time keep them out of societies way.There are many arguments ‘for and ‘against’ capital punishment; here are just some of them:Arguments for capital punishment:* Reduce level of crime: as the criminal is killed, he or she will not commit the crime again.* You should pay for the consequences: if you commit a crime then you should be able to pay the consequences.* It is a deterrent: if others see that committing a crime can lead to death, then they will not commit the same crime themselves.* It is a form of protection: society will feel safer ad reassured that the criminal is dead and he/she will not commit the crime again.* Some people will never reform: some people may never reform they may see prison as part of their daily life and get used to it. They may never reform , so it would be easier and cheaper to put the person to death.* Revenge is sweet: – if someone commits a crime and lets say kills someone then the families and friends left behind will suffer and feel hatred towards the criminal for the rest of their lives. It would better for the families of the victims if the person was to die, they would have a sense of self-satisfaction.* Retribution – “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” – So that the criminal can feel and understand what the victim went through, it is like giving the criminal a taste of his/her own medicine.Arguments against capital punishment* Innocent people may suffer: – People, who are innocent and have been mistakenly accused of the crime, may have to suffer for somebody else’s wrong doing!* Everyone makes mistakes: if someone makes a mistake then they will not have the chance to reform. And try and make up for that mistake.* Against human rights: It is against human rights to kill someone, only god has the right to give and take life.* Two wrongs don’t make a right: If somebody is sentenced to the death penalty and is killed for their crime, it doesn’t automatically mean that the crime has been put right.* Only god has right to give and take life: Most people believe that it is not up to an individual or the government to give and take life this should only be put down to god!* Executioners are turned into murderers: The executioners well also be killing someone, they are committing a crime themselves.* The death penalty is quick and painless: the death penalty is quick and painless the criminal will not suffer like the victim did!Different religions have different beliefs on capital punishment; here are some beliefs from the some of the main world religions:Christian responses:Christianity teaches two different things one being that in the old testament it has been stated that a person should get what they give: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Yet on the other hand Jesus changed this statement into: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on your right cheek let him slap you on your left cheek too. What Jesus said was original. The most common reason for punishment was retribution, and Jesus taught them that this was the last thing that they should seek. They should love they neighbour and forgive thy enemy! So overall I think Christianity believes that punishment is taken purely for the sake of reformation. They believe that anyone can change. From this I can say that they only support capital punishment to a certain extent.Hindu responses:In India the death penalty still exists for murder offences and in cases of treason and many Hindu’s see it as the right thing to do. On the other hand the Hindu principle of ahimsa seems to contradict this as ahimsa says that do not harm any living creature/ do not harm others. Hindu’s believe that this sort of punishment is vital for ones Karma and that a king or ruler has the right and has a duty to kill or punish people.There are many different stories, within Hinduism such as the mahabharata, Vedas, Upanishads, and the Ramayana. Each story tells a of a similar belief that is that all creature and humans have the right to live in safety. They say that if people are going to fulfil their dharma successfully then they need to be assured of their safety and it is the king or rulers duty to make sure of this. A king or ruler has the right to control crime by using suitable punishments called danda, or by killing criminals. Danda take on three issues form the 5 aims of punishment. These are: retribution, restraint, and reformation.So overall the Hindu belief is that if a criminal is beyond the stage of being able to reform then that person needs to be put to death.Muslim responses:Muslims believe in strict justice, but it should be tempered with mercy, compassion, and honour. If someone has committed a crime, Muslims duty is to put it right as by ignoring it, it is a crime in itself. If someone has been a victim of a crime then there demands are heard and possibly met. Muslims believe that Allah forgives those who are remorseful, but they too realise that gaining forgiveness from others may be difficult.Muslims only use the death penalty for murderers and for those people who turn against and are attacking the religion. However it is only used after a fair trail! So in Islam the death penalty is permitted but only in extreme cases!Buddhist responses:Life is an eternal suffering, an eternal circle of life and death, people can only escape by reaching the “Nirvana”. ” If people have to be punished, forgiveness should be prevalent. Thus the convict can again achieve a good “Karma”, which he has lost. Basically they believe that the wrongs or rights you do in this life will affect your next life!Sikh responses:Sikhs see capital punishment as a form of protection. They think that if someone commits a crime that is so bad then they should face the death penalty.Jewish responses:”Who murders should also be murdered (Genesis 9,6) and “a life for a life, an eye for an eye”, a tooth for a tooth”(Deut.19,21)”.However these statements should warn people not to kill or use violence.The Thora includes some rules, which prescribe the death penalty for several crimes. But the need of evidence is so demanding that almost nobody can be executed. Basically the Jewish faith does use the death penalty but only to a certain extent.Making it so difficult to actually execute someone captures the Judaic belief that all life is sacred. So pervasive was this idea in ancient times that if a court sentenced a man to death once in seven years it was considered a “killer” court. All in all I do not think the Jewish faith like the idea of the death penalty but sometimes they do not have a choice!In conclusion I must say I believe that that death penalty can never be classed as civilised. All it does is make the state a murderer. People should not be expected to punish other for their crimes by taking away their lives. The money the American Government spends on executing its unwanted could be used to provide so much more constructive benefits to the whole country. I feel that they should concentrate on building a country that is seen as civilised, humane and moral instead of destroying lives of those considered being evil. I feel that the use of capital punishment just demoralises all that we are taught from an early age about life being sacred. It is saying that yes life is sacred but some lives are less sacred than others. I feel that any country that claims to have religious foundations cannot condone the death penalty, as they should believe that the only person who can take life is God Almighty. I feel from reviewing my evidence the death penalty is a contradiction because it is saying it is wrong to kill and to punish you we are going to kill you.Surely this is a double standard, it is ok for the state to kill someone and not pay for the loss of a life however if someone else does it they can be punished. Some even share the view that capital punishment is hypocritical because punishing with death differs only narrowly (by moral standards) from murder itself. This sets an appalling example and is even against many religions whose belief is that God is the only person who should have the decision to take life, not the State. Bearing all this in mind, one is lead to pose the question; what sort of person would want to be a hangman and bear the brunt of so many moral and religious issues? In the famous last words of Robert Drew who was executed in the states by lethal injection ‘Remember the Death Penalty is MURDER!’Case study on Myra hindley!!!Myra hindley is known as Britain’s most hated women. This is because together with her partner in crime Ian Brady she killed 5 innocent young children. Ian Brady’s reason was put down to a mental disorder but Myra Hindley had no reason or motive. She was pure evil.On the night of 12th July 1963, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley took their first victim, 16-year-old Pauline Reade. The second child disappeared on 11 November 1963. Twelve-year-old John Kilbride. Six months later, another child went missing. 16 June 1964 was the day that 12-year-old Keith Bennett went missing. A further six months had passed before the fourth child, 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, disappeared. No one connected these murders to Myra hindley and Ian Brady except for when David smith Myra’s brother in-law went to the police claiming that he had seen Myra and Ian kill a young child in front of his eyes.This is when the search began. The police found enough evidence to put Myra and Ian in to prison. They had only enough evidence to prosecute the pair on the murders of three of the children; the other two remained a mystery to the police. On 27 April 1966, Hindley and Brady were brought to trial at Chester Assizes where they pleaded “not guilty” to all charges. Throughout the trial, they continued their attempts to blame David Smith for the murders, a cowardly stance that only served to deepen public hatred of them. At no time during the trial did they show any remorse for their crimes or any sorrow toward the families of their victims. To those who were present at the trial, both Brady and Hindley appeared cold and heartless. Despite protestations of their innocence, Ian Brady was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, John Kilbride, and Edward Evans. Myra Hindley was found guilty of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans and for harbouring Brady in the knowledge that he had killed John Kilbride. They did not admit to the other two mothers until after quiet a while.They escaped the death penalty by only a couple of months as “The Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965” had come into effect just four weeks before their arrest. Personally I think that the death penalty should have been brought back there and then for the pair. As neither of them showed any remorse or regret during their trial. They were both given life imprisonment!! In theory that really means only 25 years, if the criminal shows signs of remorse and if they change into a better person!! Myra Hindley did change and she was known to be an excellent prisoner and was a role model to others. She started believing in her faith again and also gained a degree!!I think that Myra Hindley should have been let out after 25 years as she did show signs of change and she was shown to be a better person. After serving 25 years in prison Myra Hindley was a political prisoner!! On January 1, 2000, it was announced that Hindley was going to take her life imprisonment battle to the House of Lords. At this time, Myra had served more than 33 years in jail. Ian Brady, age 61, had gone on a 3-month hunger strike, hoping to kill himself rather than die in prison. Myra’s application was unsuccessful!Myra Hindley died on 15th of November it was said that she died from respiratory failure. Following the official announcement of Hindley’s death, the Manchester Gaurdian reported that she had died within weeks of a decision by the House of Lords, which was “likely to have led to her release.” A ruling on an appeal brought by double murderer Anthony Anderson, who is challenging the power of politicians, rather than judges, to set the lengths of murderers’ prison sentences, was imminent and was expected to succeed.The Gaurdian further described how a ruling in favour of Anderson’s appeal would have left the British home secretary, David Blunkett, facing a new challenge from Hindley as she was one of 70 prisoners who had already served longer than the recommended sentence and had planned to apply to Lord Woolf, the lord chief justice, for her release. In 1985, Woolf’s predecessor, Lord Lane, recommended that Hindley should serve no more than 25 years, but subsequent home secretaries fixed her tariff first at 30 years and then at “whole life”, meaning she would never be released. Mr Blunkett had already promised to pass a new law to keep high-profile killers such as Hindley behind bars if the current system was declared illegal.Overall in conclusion all I would like to say is that I feel that right from the beginning Myra Hindley and Ian Brady should have been given the death penalty, but as they were not and were both given the penalty of life imprisonment they should have had the fair chance of being let out after the amount of years that they had been given. As Myra showed remorse I think she should have been let out. She as I have said before was a political prisoner!