Focus on Ethics Video: The History of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment has a long history in the United States. Gradually, execution has been reserved for fewer and fewer serious crimes and methods of execution considered to be more humane have been adopted. Today, lethal injection is the preferred method of execution in most states.

Video source: on YouTube

1. What forms of capital punishment would you approve of, if any?

2. Would there be any benefits in making executions public?

3. Why has public opinion about capital punishment changed so much over the past century? What part has politics played in these changes in public opinion?

4. What is the status of public opinion for the death penalty today? Do you think there will be more executions in the future or fewer?