This chapter presents select excerpts from Cesare Beccaria Bonesana's On Crimes and Punishments. It examines whether the death penalty really is useful and just in a government that is well administered. The chapter argues that the death penalty is for most people a spectacle, and for some an object of compassion blended with disdain. These are the two sentiments that take hold of the minds of spectators, rather than the salutary terror that the law claims to inspire. The chapter then takes a look at Beccaria, Gallarati Scotti and Risi's opinion Against the Death Penalty. It discusses the drafting of the new penal code — The Criminal Law Committee. Ultimately, it infers that the death penalty is inappropriate because it is irreversible; we bear in mind the inevitable imperfection of human judgements. Even if the death were a just penalty, even if it were the most efficacious of all punishments, in order for it to be justly applied to a particular criminal, it would be necessary that he be proven to be guilty in such a way that the possibility of the contrary is excluded.
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