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Capital Punishment legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating Criminal law Throughout history people have been put to death for various forms of wrongdoing Methods of execution have included such practices as crucifixion stoning drowning burning at the stake impaling and beheading Today capital punishment is typically accomplished by lethal gas or injection Electrocution hanging or shooting The death penalty is the most controversial penal practice in the modern world Other harsh physical forms of criminal punishment- referred to as corporal punishment- have generally been eliminated in modern times as uncivilized and unnecessary In the majority of countries contemporary methods of punishment such as imprisonment or fines no longer involve the infliction of physical pain Although imprisonment and fines are universally recognizes as necessary to the control of crime the nations of the world are split on the issue of capital punishment About 80 nations have abolished the death penalty and an almost unequal number of nations retain it The trend in most industrialized nations has been to first stop executing prisoners and then to substitute long terms of imprisonment for death as the most severe off all criminals penalties The United States is an important exception to this trend The federal government and a majority of US states provide for the death penalty and from 50 to 75 executions occur each year throughout the United States Each year there are about 250 people added to death row and 35 executed The death penalty is the harshest form of punishment enforced in the United Sates today Once a jury has convicted a criminal offense they go to the second part of the trial the punishment phase If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees then the criminal will face some form of execution lethal injection is the most common form used today There was a period from 1972 to 1976 that capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional by the
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