The Death Penalty And Criticisms Of Beccaria

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The Death Penalty And Criticisms Of Beccaria’s Work Essay, Research Paper Running head: DEATH PENALTY AND CRITICISMS The Death Penalty and Criticisms of Beccaria’s work Troy K. Prichett University of Alabama Abstract The purpose of this paper is to discuss Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments, with emphasis on Beccaria’s views on the death penalty and the many criticisms that surrounds his work. Beccaria had extreme views against the death penalty, but he contradicted his views several times. This led to the criticism of his work and many of his views of society of the Enlightenment period. There were some who said the Beccaria did not write On Crimes and Punishment, this along with other criticisms will be address below. The Death Penalty and Criticisms of

Beccaria’s Work The purpose of this paper is to discuss the death penalty and the many criticisms surrounding Cesare Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments. Key points in Beccaria’s life according to Adler, Mueller, and Laufer (2000): Cesare Bonesana, Marchese di Beccaria (1738-1794), was rather undistinguished as a student. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Pavia, he returned home to Milan and joined a group of articulate and radical intellectuals. Disenchanted with contemporary Europeans society, they organized themselves into the academy of fists, one of many young men’s clubs that flourished in Italy as the time. Their purpose was to discover what reforms would be needed to modernize Italian society. In March 1763 Beccaria was assigned to prepare

a report on the prison system. Pietro Verri, the head of the academy of fists, encouraged him to read the works of English and French philosophers-David Hume (1711-1776), John Locke (1632-1704), Claude Adrien Helvetius (1715-1771), Voltaire (1694-1778), Montesquieu (1685-1755), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Another member of the academy, the protector of prisons, revealed to him the inhumanities that were possible under the guise of social control. Beccaria learned well. He read, observed, and made notes on small scraps of paper. These notes, Harry Elmer Barnes has observed, were destined to “assure to its author immortality and would work a revolution in the moral world” upon their publication in July 1764 under the title Dei delitti e delle pene (On Crimes and

Punishment). Beccaria presented a coherent, comprehensive designs for an enlightened criminal justice system that was serve the people rather than the monarchy. (p. 62-63) After On Crimes and Punishment was published Beccaria was considered the founder of Classical school of Criminology. The Death penalty The death penalty also known as capital punishment is being put to death for committing a crime. Beccaria (1764/1963) views the death penalty as a “ . . . useless prodigality of torments, which has never made man better . . . .” The purpose of punishment is to deter crime, but when that punishment exceeds what is necessary to deter crime it becomes unjust, according to Beccaria. What can justify the execution of one of societies citizens? How can we determine if the

punishment of the crime should be death? Are there any crime that are justified by the killing of a human being? These are some questions that Beccaria (1764/1963) answers: There are only two possible motives for believing that the death of a citizen is necessary. The first: when it is evident even if deprived of liberty he still has connections and power such as endanger the security of the nation-when, that is, his existence can produce a dangerous revolution in the established form of government. The death of a citizen thus becomes necessary when a nation is recovering or losing its Liberty or, in time of anarchy, when disorders themselves take the place of laws. . . . I see no necessity for destroying a citizen, except if his death were the only real way of restraining others