What is justice? Essay

What is justice? For many this may be a simple question to answer but in today’s society the meaning is much more complex. Individually the word brings different meanings to everyone. Although it has a vast list of meanings it can be defined as “The quality of being fair and reasonable. ” In today’s society justice is in the centre of every debate, whether it’s in the legal system, politics or human rights campaigns. Particularly in the legal system its definition is that the defendant must be punished to a sentence that fits the crime they committed.

Depending where you live this punishment usually entails some type of prison sentence or maybe even the death penalty. Most countries have abolished capital punishment from their legal system. Due to countries traditions, religions and views the death penalty is often supported and justified. However does the death penalty serve as a justified and valid form of a punishment? Which makes you think, are certain countries breaching the laws of justice or is Australia being too lenient in its sentencing?

An Iranian woman convicted of adultery has been sentenced to death by stoning. Stoning is a method of execution designed to increase the suffering of the victim, which means it is an extreme and cruel form of torture. Sharif Abdullah, 23 was found guilty with adultery after admitting to the chargers only after her brother reportedly beat her. The conviction was based solely on this testimony. In Islam adultery is considered a lot more serious than in today’s modern society, where is common to fall in love with other men.

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case in a matter prescribed by Allah if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment”. (24:2) in the Quran. The people who attend the execution are called upon to throw stones and cheer. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre found popular support for stoning as a punishment of adultery with as high as 82% of Egyptians’ were in favour of the punishment, followed by 70% in Jordan, 56% in Nigeria.

Due to Muslims stronger opinions and views on adultery the punishments is consequently much harsher and believe that the sentence does fit the crime. On the other hand many Western countries have decriminalized adultery, and it is not legally punishable in nations such as Austria, Finland and Sweden. However most individuals disapprove in this inhuman sentence, with countless human right campaigns and activists trying to abolish this punishment and get justice those who are unable to have their own voice.

Unaware of the supporting information to the defendant and their crime it still clear to say many sentences carry out in the Middle East are unjustified. Secondly, the United States is one of the very few industrialized countries in the world which continues to execute criminals. Most states that continue to execute people use a combination of drugs that are injected into the criminal’s veins. This sometimes causes high levels of pain and distress to the inmates. People on death row are usually convicted of murder in the first degree.

First degree murder in America is seen as the worst type of murder which is premeditated, specific intent to kill and deliberate. While most convicted murders are sentenced to imprisonment. This sparks numerous debates across the world claiming that execution is a form of hypocrisy. When Americans were asked whether they prefer to keep or abolish the death penalty, various surveys have shown that about 70 of American adults say that they want to retain capital punishment. I believe that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances.

There are extraordinarily heinous crimes, terrorism, and the harm of children, in which it may be appropriate. ” – Barack Obama, President of the US In addition, America’s legal system is being accused of being prejudiced. In Southern states, 8% of blacks convicted of murder receive the death penalty while only 1% of white murderers get capital punishment. Also, murderers are seven times more likely to get the death penalty for killing a white person than a black person.

Senator Russ Feingold states, “The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims. ” For example in the fictional play of ‘Twelve Angry Men’ by Reginold Rose illustrates the US’s legal system and how even prejudice may result in unjustified sentencing. If the 18 year old defendant was convicted to murdering he would have been sentenced to execution. Australia is one of the many countries, who have abolished capital punishment in their legal systems.

Since the obliteration of capital punishment in Australia, in 1973, there has not been a significant rise in the rates of homicide and murder. Instead of a death penalty the legal system convicts the accused to life imprisonment; this may be between 25 years if given to parole or till their death. Crimes that may result in life imprisonment are degrees of Homicide, Terrorism, Treason and Rape. Many argue that Australia’s legal system is far too lenient when it comes to sentencing. Leniency often involves that the justice has not been done.

For instance the defendant in ‘Twelve Angry Men’ was sentenced for execution if found guilty by the jury. If the same trial took place in Australia the boy would have most likely be convicted for manslaughter with a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Many countries and cultures are divided on the topic of the best suitable punishment. Really it boils down to one of two issues: 1. Rights. Do criminals still have them, and if they do, then are they still strong enough to block attempts by those who don’t like them to hurt them (victims right to retribution for example).

In the event of miscarriages of justice the issue can be framed as the rights of the innocent few to be killed to kill the guilty many. 2. Effectiveness. If we decide that rights are being breached but not so much we can’t justify it, or that rights aren’t being breached problematically, does it get us what we want? Does it kill too many innocents to be justified, is there any deterrent? Whether or not these things are sufficient for the penalty is the rights issue, but if it can be justified then does the empirical evidence suggest it would be.


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