The Death Penalty

The Purpose and History of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the most severe form of criminal punishment: the legal and justified termination of a convicted offender's life as punishment for his or her crime(s). Historically, this has been accomplished by various forms of execution. Offenders have been stoned, bludgeoned, beaten, broken on the wheel, drawn and quartered, eviscerated while alive, buried alive, burned alive, drowned, garroted, beheaded, hanged, shot by firing squad, electrocuted, poisoned by lethal gas, and most currently, poisoned by lethal injection. Executions were carried out in public settings until the 1830s, when they also began to be carried out inside prison boundaries. The last public execution in the United States was conducted on August 14, 1936, in Kentucky. ...

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