Issues of Good and Evil: Crime and Punishment 2

What are different responses to the death penalty?

Thank you for visiting, only one post this week. This post we will focus on beliefs and attitudes towards the death penalty. We will consider the quotes needed for this unit and interpretations of them. As we develop an understanding on these topics, make sure to apply the lens of religious and ethical responses. The application of relative and absolute morality and other unit concepts including: conscience, virtues and sin.

Recap Questions

1. What is another term for free-will?


2. What is sin?

A deliberate immoral action; breaking a religious or moral law

3. What is meant by justice?

Fairness; where everyone is treated equally by the law.

  • To understand causes of crime.
  • To investigate the aims of punishment.
  • To consider religious and ethical responses.
  • Method to record learning – word document or pen and paper
  • Keep a log of work and send a copy to your teacher via e-mail if possible, if not hold on to until you see your teacher in person. (It should take 30-60 mins).
  • Additionally you can mail work to:


Task 1
Below are the quotes the specification outlines that you must know. Whilst you are expected to use others these should form the baseline for this unit. Read each of them, write them out and then explain what they mean.

Additionally – can you identify where there may be of help to a believer?

Task 2
Read the following introduction to the death penalty (source textbook below) then using this and your own ideas list arguments for and against its use.

The death penalty has been a feature of punishment practices for thousands of years. It has been used by societies across the world to deter crime and to punish the very worst criminal behaviours. Also referred to as capital punishment or execution, the death penalty is still legal in over 80 different countries (although 50 of these countries have not used execution as a punishment in the last ten years). The majority of the countries that retain the death penalty are African or Asian-Pacific nations like China, Afghanistan and Iran. The greatest exception to this is the United States of America.
Of the 50 states in America, 31 allow execution in both law and practice for the crimes of murder and treason. Death row, the name given to the area where death penalty convicts reside in prison, has now become a popular feature of film, TV programmes and documentaries. Methods of execution have changed over the past century as governments look for cheaper but more humane ways to end the life of convicts. In America, executions can take the form of lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, firing squad or hanging (although in practice lethal injection is most widely used). Other less humane methods still in use include decapitation (North Korea and Saudi Arabia), shooting under anaesthetic (Taiwan) and stoning (Sudan).

Task 3

Write down what you believe the death penalty is designed to achieve.


In summary this post covers an introduction to the moral issues surrounding the death penalty. As well as, an opportunity to consider your own stance. next post we will look in detail at the religious responses in light of the underlying quotes articulated here.

Extras: Test yourself – use the following exam board supported website – Seneca, to assess your understanding on this topic.

Exam Question

Describe the work of prison chaplains. 5 marks (B type question)
REMEMBER: One possible exam technique – list of five
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding by describing a belief, teaching, practice, event etc.​
​Five distinct ideas put into a paragraph.

Mark scheme

Counselling to those in prison.
Prison chaplains from religious traditions will offer prayers and share
religious teachings with those in prison.
Prison chaplains from religious traditions will lead individual and
communal acts of worship.
Support prisoners emotional and social needs.
Support prisoners with rehabilitation into society.
Support prisoners at times of bereavement or personal crisis.
Support prisoners with specific religious needs e.g. festivals, dietary