The Death Penalty And Criticisms Of Beccaria — страница 2

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from committing crimes; this is the second motive for believing that the death penalty may be just and necessary.(p. 46) So only in extreme situations the death penalty can be just and necessary. But during the enlightenment period when laws were hard to interpret and most people in society could not understand or did not know the law; how could we then justify the death penalty if society was not sure about the law or the punishment of crime. According to Beccaria (1764/1963) “If the interpretation of laws is an evil, another evil, evidently, is the obscurity that makes interpretation necessary. . . . written in a language that its foreign to a people . . .” Thus if society is confused about the law and the punishment that one might get for breaking the law, then how can it

be an effective deterrent? If deterrence is the whole reason for punishment then wouldn’t it be more effective if society knew the law and the punishment. If the death penalty is an uncertain punishment and the duration between committing the crime and punishment, then that in itself makes the death penalty ineffective for others that witness the execution, because the see the long wait before being punished. Beccaria (1764/1963) stated “With the death penalty, every example given to the nation presupposes a new crime; with the penalty of a lifetime of servitude a single crime supplies frequent and lasting examples. And if it be important that men frequently observe the power of the laws, penal executions ought not to be separated by long intervals. . .” Johnson and Wolfe

(1996) stated “Law should be adapted to the people for whom they were made and insure both the health and stability of society.” Thus when writing law for the people don’t write over the people. Criticisms There are many criticisms of Beccaria’s work, some that argue he did not write or even that he plagiarized the essay. According to Newman (1990) One is a suspicion that Beccaria did not write the document, but the accuracy of this accusation turns on what is meant by the word ”write.”. . . Our guess is that Beccaria had put down notes resulting from the many discussions he had with the Verris and their visitors about the criminal law, . . . then urged Beccaria to put these scraps together into a book. Beccaria apparently spent a long time trying to do that, without

accomplishing very much. Eventually, Pietro Verri collected the various pieces and organize and into an essay. so, whether Beccaria “wrote” the treaties is difficult to say.(p. 330-331) Their are some that say Beccaria did probably write the essay as Verris as an editor. Some other criticisms of Beccaria essay were its contradictions, such as his utilitarian views. According to Adler, Mueller, and Laufer (2000) “Utilitarianism a science that all human actions are calculated in accordance with their likelihood of bringing happiness (pleasure) or unhappiness (pain). People weigh the probabilities of present and future pleasures against those of present and future pain.” Beccaria’s (1764/1963) utilitarian views are contradicted in his last sentence, “In order for

punishment not to be, in every instance, an act of violence of one or of many against a private citizen, it must be essentially public, prompt, necessary, the least possible in the given circumstances, proportionate to the crimes, dictated by the laws.” However, it is contradicted by the utilitarian view that the pain of the punishment must outweigh the pleasure of the offense. This is in fact what is hidden by Beccaria’s use of the words “least possible” and “necessary.” What is the necessary condition for punishment-the breaking of a law? Retributivists would say so. But utilitarians, who are forward looking, are interested in preventing future crimes. (Newman and Marongiu 1990 p. 335) This utilitarian view were also noted in Johnson and Wolfe (1996) “Punishments

served a utilitarian purpose; they were to discourage future criminal activity, both by the convicted person and by those who witnessed his chastisement.” Beccaria was also criticized for his extreme views on the death penalty. He argued against the death penalty, that a sentence of slavery was more sever and thus a greater deterrent than death. Their were many criticisms of this view; because slavery was another way of inflicting death. “This was especially so when time was served in ships’ galleys. In fact, galley slavery was considered appropriate for a “capital offense.” It is not clear, therefore, how “absolute” Beccaria’s opposition to the death penalty was, since many would die as a result of the punishments he proposed.” (Newman and Marongiu, 1990) His