The death penalty has not been used in Korea since December 30th, 1997. According to a public opinion poll in 2015 by Gallup Korea, 63% of people agreed with using the death penalty and 27% of people disagreed. This shows that most Korean people think that the death penalty must be used again. The reason for this is the many cases in which the court didn’t impose the ultimate penalty on very serious criminals. Despite this, some people still think that the death penalty should never be used.
As the number of indiscriminate murders has recently increased, the idea of using the death penalty again has also come up in the National Petition. It is because South Korea has practically abolished the death penalty. From my perspective, the act of killing a person is absolutely horrible. Therefore, this system is necessary for our country to prevent various crimes, which includes murder, from happening again. There are three reasons why this system should be enforced: crime prevention effect, social security, and no need to respect the right of the murderer.
First, if the government punishes murders strictly for crimes, it will help prevent crime. The way to prevent such crimes from happening again is to execute criminals convicted of murder. If the death penalty is enforced, the number of malicious crimes can be reduced due to fear that murderers may die because of the law.
Secondly, the death penalty for perpetrators of evil crimes is necessary because those criminals harm the safety and order of society. It is natural that a person deserves to be punished for his mistakes. If people take a person’s life away and live well without any punishment, they would not feel guilty about doing something that harms people, and then society will become confused and chaotic.
Lastly, there is no need to give rights to a person who has taken human life. Although the country has the obligation to protect and respect human rights, criminals have already violated the law by murder. No person who commits murder has the right to be forgiven. The murderer should atone for his crime, and if there is no sign of remorse, he must receive the death penalty.
In conclusion, it is necessary for our society to enforce the death penalty system. However, there has been no executions in South Korean society since 1997, and the sentences of murderers are weaker that other foreign countries. In addition, there is a law that protects murderers who are mentally or physically handicapped. Of course, the human rights of all people are important. But should we respect the human rights of those who have taken another’s life away? Just as criminals’ lives are important, the lives of their victims are equally important. That is why I think there should be a death penalty.
●Opinion from a reader
(Kang Min-jeong, Department of International Relations)
When I read this article, I have the same thought as the reporter. Nowadays, there are so many brutal murder incidents with non-reasonable. Also, the murderer receives a lighter sentence. I think they are punished too lightly for what they did. Murder is something that can never happen even if it is mistaken. That is why the state needs to revive the death penalty from the prevention level.
These days, as people want more powerful punishments for criminals, the death penalty is a big issue. However, the voices that disagree with the death penalty are getting louder because the death penalty is one of the most severe punishment that ignores human rights in our society. I do not agree with the death penalty.
Many people think that stronger punishments cause fewer, crimes to be committed. It would work, if a society is very strict and controls every single person in the country. Currently most countries are democratic, which means governments don’t have the right to kill citizens. Because human rights are globally regarded as very important, 140 countries have removed the death penalty or suspended it in reality. Despite this, the homicide rate has been decreasing. According to the statistics from UNDOC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), globally, the number of people who were murdered per 100,000 people on average was 7.6 in 2004 and it decreased to 6.9 in 2010. This means that the death penalty hasn’t help reduce crimes.
Murder is the most serious crime that a human being can commit. But is the death penalty the most proper punishment for murderers? The death penalty system is not the heaviest penalty for murderers. Instead, they should be punished by spending the rest of their lives in jail, under the surveillance and regulation of law, without freedom. This will be the most powerful way to punish them.
Therefore, instead of killing murderers, brutal criminals should be given life imprisonment without parole. The most important part of the life imprisonment is the ‘without parole’ part. In Korea especially, there are so many criminals who were paroled by special amnesty or commutation. This is the biggest point why Korean people became furious and now agree with the death penalty. Alternatively, like in U.S., prison sentences can be extremely long such as a thousand years so that no one can be released by commutation.
If the death penalty is in use because of the emotional reward for victims, our society cannot be truly righteous. Additionally, the government must continually take care of the victims with counseling and some financial assistance. Anti-death penalty is not anti-punishing criminals. We are not opposing the death penalty to help criminals, we think that the death penalty is not the best way to punish the criminals. Restraining the liberty and making them live forever in prison is the best way for everyone.
●Opinion from a reader
(Jang Ji-eun, Department of Nursing)
Koreans are reacting for crimes too emotionally these days and Korean courts are too generous in demanding penalties. Criminals should be punished by the law, not by emotion, with heavy penalties. However, I think death penalty is not the appropriate way to punish criminals, now in 21st century.