Task: What do you think the appropriate punishment is for the following offences?

  • Stealing a loaf of bread from a shop
  • Murder of an elderly person
  • Benefit fraud
  • Neglecting a dog by not feeding it
  • Sexual abuse of a child

Punishments are given to people who have committed offences. Different punishments have different aims. For example, they could be aiming to reform an offender, put other people off from doing the same crime or protecting the rest of society from someone considered to be dangerous.

Up until 1969, the death penalty was given for some crimes in the UK. The death penalty is still used by many countries worldwide, including numerous US states.

Task: Watch the video.

In 1953, a 19 year old man named Derek Bentley was executed at Wandsworth prison. Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig, 16, had been interrupted during an attempted robbery in a warehouse in Croydon but several police officers. Craig had used a gun to shoot two police officers, one of whom died. Both Craig and Bentley were charged with murder. Bentley had several learning disabilities and was thought to have the mental ability of an average 11 year old. However, both men were found guilty of murder and due to his age of 19, Bentley was hanged, whereas Craig was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

There have been numerous examples of an offender being executed for a crime, only for it to be discovered that the crime had been committed by someone else. The death penalty has also been used to execute mass murderers, who could have gone on to kill others.

Task: Read more examples of reasons against and in support of the death penalty here.

Task: Write a speech explaining your view on whether the death penalty should be reinstated in the UK or not. You should write three paragraphs. Give examples.

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