Mahatma Gandhi, a household name in India for his role in soliciting for Indian independence, articulated that an eye for an eye only makes the world go blind. The Criminal Justice System in many jurisdictions has incorporated the capital punishment or better known as the death penalty to punish those who have committed capital offenses. Capital offenses comprise but are not limited to; rape, robbery, murder, treason and espionage.

The goal of imposing the death penalty on wrongdoers is to attain deterrence and retribution in both the short and long run. Deterrence in the sense that, anyone thinking of committing a capital Crime, for example, might reconsider knowing that they might attract a death row on their person. Consequently, the death penalty is retributive in the sense that, if you murdered someone, for example, you should get akin treatment.

From the latter, isn’t the Criminal Justice System being too personal? Well, you bet it is; taking the proverbial saying: an eye for an eye a bit too seriously I must say.

Every human has the right to life

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 blatantly articulates that, each and every human being has the right to life. Subsequently, the same declaration expeditiously absolves each and every human being from cruelty be it perpetual or ephemeral.

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Let us have in mind that life is sacrosanct and sacred, so in the event, the criminal justice system imposes the lethal injection on a convict, it infringes greatly on a fundamental human right: the right to life.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), 2015 alone saw close to one hundred and fifty chaps exonerated from death row. What do these numbers essentially mean? Well, for starters, each and every legal jurisdiction errs while convicting accused persons.

To this effect, it is possible for an innocent person to be executed if the death penalty has been passed on them. Hence innocent persons are at risk of losing their lives as a result of the death penalty. If this does not make the Criminal Justice System a criminal itself, I don’t know what does. This is simply wanton destruction of human lives, lives which are sacrosanct and protected immensely under the Bill of rights.

Racial discrimination in the justice system

Let us not forget that discrimination has been given a front row seat in our society and as such, the Criminal Justice System has continuously entertained it by imposing the death penalty on more blacks than whites. This is with respect to a case in Georgia that was reversed by the Supreme Court expeditiously, after making it made the finding that the black man was convicted and a death penalty imposed on him erroneously.

Subsequently, forty percent of black men who slay white men were put on death row; conversely, fifteen percent of white men who slay black men were put on death row. From the latter, it is evident that racial discrimination has found itself a front seat in our judicial system too.

From the foregoing, it is imperative for us to soul search on where the rain started beating us. This is with respect to the fact that, we are entertaining wanton destruction of sacred human lives at increasingly high rates. Have we dashed out our ethics to the wind just like that? Well, seems like we did. Let us revamp our ethics and morals by respecting the life of each and every person (convict or not, black person or not). Doing this will be killing two birds with one stone; we will also be promoting constitutionalism as our constitution promotes and protects life by classifying it as a fundamental right. Let it be abolished.

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