The 'death penalty' has been a burning issue in every age. It has come to the fore with cyclic regularity throughout the long history of mankind. Even modern laws, inspired by the basic value of safeguarding human life in the wake of the French Revolution, have frequently shunned capital punishment only to revive it as a possible penalty. Italy is one of the western countries where the death penalty has fostered cultural debate across a whole range of disciplines and has found its greatest opponent in the abolitionist Cesare Beccaria. In contemporary culture, the death penalty is generally seen as a deterrent rather than a punishment. It is, as the writer shows, an instrument of public order, that is to say the product of a political choice rather than a punitive act in the juridical sense. This interpretation provides a perspective from which o examine the case of the United States. The "American Exception" illustrates a contradiction without a solution in a country which, while setting itself up as a promoter of human rights, also has a cultural matrix where the death penalty still has a place. It is, however, a poor choice as, even from the functional point of iew, granting the State the right to punish by death not only damages the very concept of human dignity, but is no effective deterrent.
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|data pubblicazione: ||Ottobre 2012|