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Translate the text about capital punishment and retell using the words in bold.

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Capital punishment is a legal infliction of the death penalty, in modern law, corporal punishment in its most severe form. The usual alternative to the death penalty is long-term or life imprisonment.

The earliest historical records contain evidence of capital punishment. It was mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi. The Bible prescribed death as the penalty for more than 30 different crimes, ranging from murder to fornication. The Draconian Code of ancient Greece imposed capital punishment for every offence. In England, during the reign of William the Conqueror, the death penalty was not used, although the results of interrogation and torture were often fatal. In early American colonies the death penalty was commonly authorized for a wide variety of crimes. Blacks, whether slave or free, were threatened with death for many crimes that were punished less severely when committed by whites.

Efforts to abolish the death penalty gathered momentum at the end of the 18th century. In Europe, a short treatise, On Crimes and Punishments, by the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, inspired influential thinkers such as the French philosopher Voltaire to oppose torture, flogging, and the death penalty.

The fundamental questions raised by the death penalty are whether it is an effective deterrent to violent crime, and whether it is more effective than the alternative of long-term imprisonment.

DEFENDERS of the death penalty insist that it is a major deterrent. It can make a violent robber think twice before pulling the trigger. It can give a cold-blooded poisoner something to ponder about while he is shaking up or serving his arsenic cocktail. Above all, it can protect the most vulnerable members of society, young children, from brutal sex-maniacs. It is horrifying to think that the criminal can literally get away with murder. We all know that “life sentence” does not mean what it says. After ten years or so of “good conduct”, the most desperate villain is free to return to society where he will live very comfortably or will go on committing offences until he is caught again. Moreover, DEFENDERS of capital punishment also claim that society has the right to kill in defence of its members, just as the individual may kill in self-defence.



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On the other hand, OPPONENTS of the death penalty argue that it may be a deterrent to a crime. They believe that the Biblical principle “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is a pre-Christian spirit of revenge because we are civilized now and should give it up and be humane. Besides, they think that punishment should fit the crime. We cannot accept fixed punishments for crimes, circumstances should be taken into account.

The chief objection to capital punishment has also been that it is always used unfairly, in at least three major ways. First, women are rarely sentenced to death and executed, even though 20 per cent of all homicides in recent years have been committed by women. Second, a disproportionate number of non-whites are sentenced to death and executed. Third, poor and friendless defendants, those with inexperienced or court-appointed attorney, are most likely to be sentenced to death and executed.


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<== попередня сторінка | наступна сторінка ==>
Translate collocations dealing with boxing | Study the vocabulary at the end of the book and underline the correct item.

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