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The Death Penalty and Victims' Families: Considering the Impact on Survivors

Words: 539 | Pages: 3

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The history of the death penalty is steeped in controversy and has evolved significantly over time. In earlier centuries it was common for people to be publicly executed—a spectacle intended both as punishment for the accused and deterrent for onlookers. Methods varied greatly from hanging, beheading, stoning or burning at stake among others. However these practices were widely criticized on humanityarian grounds which led many countries including England in 1868 to adopt private executions instead. This shift marked one of many changes in society’s perception and implementation of capital punishment that have occurred throughout history.

Impact of Capital Punishment on Victims' Families: Psychological Consequences

Societal expectation posits closure following an offender's execution—a notion widely disputed by psychologists who argue that grief is a deeply personal process unaffected by revengeful actions such as executions. Research suggests there is no significant difference in levels of mental health between those who have seen their loved ones’ killers executed and those who haven't.

Families often continue to struggle with issues like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and complicated grief long after the perpetrator’s death sentence has been carried out—further demonstrating how capital punishment may fail to provide emotional relief or justice to victims’ relatives.

The Role of Retribution in Grieving Process

Placing emphasis on retribution can potentially prolong suffering for victims' families. The legal proceedings leading up to an execution are typically lengthy and publicized. This process forces families to relive traumatic events repeatedly over several years before their loved one's killer is finally executed — if at all — further exacerbating their grief instead of providing solace or resolution.

Consequently, while retribution might be perceived as serving justice, its role in the actual grieving process appears minimal at best when considering psychological health and emotional recovery.

Capital Punishment and the Legal Rights of Victims' Families

On a broader scope, these same laws can place victims' families at the center of public scrutiny and media attention – further complicating their mourning process. If a death penalty case is overturned due to judicial error or new evidence, it may feel like a betrayal to those who believed they had finally achieved justice for their lost loved ones.

Thus while capital punishment theoretically aims at safeguarding victims’ families’ rights, its practical implications often raise questions about its effectiveness as a means towards achieving emotional restitution.

Comparative Analysis: Death Penalty vs. Life Imprisonment Effects on Survivors

Research has shown that some survivors find solace in knowing that their loved one’s killer is spending their remaining days behind bars, reflecting upon their actions. This contrasts starkly with capital punishment where the perpetrator's life ends abruptly without any opportunity for remorse or reform. Thus, while both penalties serve justice on paper, they evoke different emotional responses from survivors—responses which significantly impact their healing journey.

Case Studies: Personal Narratives from Victims' Families Experiencing the Death Penalty Process

Another poignant narrative comes from SueZann Bosler who witnessed her father's murder and survived an attempt on her own life during a robbery gone wrong. Despite having every reason to demand retribution, Bosler campaigned tirelessly against executing her assailant - believing it would not honor her peace-loving father's memory nor bring her relief. These stories underscore that closure does not necessarily come through punitive measures but rather individual paths towards healing may be more beneficial.

Work Cited


But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness.


"At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident."


"On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue."

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