“Why Women with Children Should be Exempted from Capital Punishment.”
Since the first recorded case of the use of capital punishment in the 18th century, the capital punishment has evolved into a phenomena that has found its way into politics, some religions and many cultures around the world. From the iconic guillotines of France to the electric chairs of the United States and to the firing squad of Africa. Capital punishment has proven to be undeniable a global phenomenon which has unarguably shaped the face of history.
Though capital punishment is outmoded and have been tagged inhumane by many, more than 300 people over the world get the death penalty each year. Of the 300 people who go to the scaffold each year, an estimated 20% are females and a further study reveal that 5% are women with children.
According to Wikipedia, 8 countries have totally abolished capital punishment for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes), 28 are abolitionist in practice, 106 have completely put an end to it de jure for all crimes while 56 countries still retain capital punishment. Unfortunately, over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where capital punishment is maintained.
The subject of capital punishment especially when it involves women with children has always been a point of debate to scholars and critics alike but should women with children really be exempted from capital punishment?
Firstly, capital punishment should be totally abolished all around the world because capital punishment is murder. Regardless of whoever is in question. Whether a man, a woman or a woman with children, the deliberate killing of another person remains murder and murder would always be murder no matter how legal it could be painted to be. Even though it might be well accepted by the legal system, some religions and many cultures, capital punishment (murder) would always remain a crime against humanity.
The legal world has experienced a surge in technological advancement, forensic sciences and advanced knowledge. In fact, it seems to be in its golden ages with the advent of high tech CCTV cameras, button sized audio recorders and sophisticated forensic instruments. Unfortunately, no matter how advanced and established the legal system could be, it could never ascertain whether a convict is truly guilty or not and as a result, far too many innocent people have been put to death unjustly because of lack of evidence. For the numbers, more than 30 documented innocent people were executed in the past ten years with about seven percent being women with children.
There is actually no published work or research that proves that capital punishment stops people from committing crime. Further research shows that crime rates are higher in countries that use capital punishment. Countries like Germany, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria where capital punishment has been fully abolished are among the countries that have the lowest crime rates in the world while countries like Nigeria, India, Iraq, Ethiopia and the United States where capital punishment is fully functional are among the major crime centers in the world.
On the other hand, if a woman with children faces capital punishment, critics might argue that it is imperative for the law to takes its toll. However, one thing that must be kept in mind is the welfare of the children in question. Though the law might have punished the guilty, the law also punishes the innocent child in the process. Such children are faced with the harsh realities of life without their mothers and their vulnerability is mostly exploited by predators, pedophiles and criminals. Most of these children are most likely sent to motherless babies’ homes or to a relative. These children might probably have to struggle through life challenges to succeed. Some might even seek vengeance thereby turning into terrorists and putting the country and its citizens in danger.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of crime data established in a recent study women committed less than 10% of all murders in America between 2000 and 2010.This definitely means that women are less likely to deliberately commit crimes that would result into capital punishment. The number is unarguably less when women with is put into consideration. This proves that women with children are very unlikely to commit crimes that warrant the death penalty but does that mean that women with children who commit serious offences should be set free?
When questioned, more than half of capital punishment recipients in Nigeria blamed unemployment as one the reasons for their involvements in serious crime. This calls for the government to create more jobs as the creation of more jobs would significantly curb the rate of crime. Alternate punishments should be introduced to replace capital punishment for women with children too. Awareness should also be created to educate people on morals and values in order to give rise to a crime free society.