In the Cambridge English dictionary, society is defined as a large group of people who live together in an organised way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing the work that needs to be done. (2) However, sociologists define society as the people who interact to share a common culture, this cultural bond could be ethnic or racial, based on gender or beliefs, values and activities. Though both definitions share many similarities, society explained by sociologists is clearly more related to sharing the same beliefs and sharing a cultural bond. (3) We live in an extremely internationally diverse world with so many different communities in each of the 195 countries, naturally creating the impression that the world too consists of many different societies. (4) There are 10 defined types of human societies that exist throughout the world, variating due to each individual societies use of technology and tools and from natural environment differences. Human societies worldwide had originally shared a hunting lifestyle, fishing societies then emerged next, followed by horticultural and agrarian societies. Industrial societies had emerged in modern history, this society featured a greater use of technology and tools compared to other societies. Industrialized societies form in urbanized parts of the world, such as cities and metropolitan areas; whilst hunting and some agrarian societies emerge in remote land, where the undeveloped land allows for crop production and livestock grazing. (5)The twenty first century began on January 1st in 2001 and will end on December 31st 2099, it was promised to be a time of scientific and technological growth at a level that the world had never experienced before, it was seen as a future full of promise by many in the 20th century. (6) The years of the twenty first century have been marked by the rise of a global economy and third world consumerism, mistrust in governments across many countries, deepening global concern on terrorism and climate change, and an increase in the power of private enterprise. It is inevitable that communities and cultures have become so much closer due to the increasing economic integration and political forces, there is a sense of emergence of a new sort of morality that has come with the forces of globalization. (7)Religion has also been declining worldwide, with an estimated 1.1 billion atheists in 2010. Even with all these changes happening in the twenty first century society, there is still a sense of divide, especially between the eastern and western part of the world. (8) The Eastern world refers to the nations in Asia and Middle East, whilst Western worlds refer to North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. One of the main differences between both cultures is the different adopted attitudes they have towards their life. Eastern people customarily live in time, they follow the natural order of time to do what they ought to do and work piecemeal. (9) Eastern people are generally inflexible in their beliefs and ideologies, long practised customs and traditions don’t tend to be question. However in contrast, western people are more open to change and the expression of feelings, though people in the East may cover up for tact and good manners. The differences between the Eastern and Western culture is not constrained by different lifestyles, but the law system too. There are societies in both the Eastern and Western part of the world that view capital punishment as a reasonable and justified punishment, whilst in other cultures, it is considered immoral and abhorrent; this makes the answer on the relevance of the death penalty in 21st century society more harder and complicated to answer. Capital punishment in the United Kingdom(10) In 1965, the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty published an act that abolished capital punishment in Great Britain for murder or conviction of murder or a corresponding offence by court martial. In the 1965 Act, it is stated that no person shall suffer death for murder, however any person convicted of murder can be given a sentence where they are imprisoned for life; and if previously before the act, a person was under sentence of death for murder, the sentence would have an effect as a sentence for imprisonment for life. Those who are convicted of an offence who appeared to the court to have been under the age of eighteen years at the time the offence was committed shall not, if they are convicted of murder, be sentenced to imprisonment for life, nor shall sentence of death be pronounced on or recorded against any such person. This was a significant change to the British legal system who had had an extremely murderous past, (11) it’s last execution was the hanging of two jobless criminals – Gwynne Evans and Peter Allen who had bludgeoned a man to death just to steal 10 pounds, they were hanged at 8am on the 13th of August 1964. (12)In the past, death sentences were carried out in many different and rather gruesome ways, such as convicted offenders being beheaded, being boiled in oil, being buried alive, crucifixion, hanging, impalement and stoning. Capital punishment was practiced in the countries that became the United Kingdom virtually throughout their history until 1964. The system of laws and punishments for capital offences between 1688 and 1815 is often known as the ‘Bloody Code’, due to there being a constant increase in the number of offences punishable by death. In 1770, Sir Samuel Romilly began to give serious attention to the problem of reform of the criminal laws and especially of the Bloody Code around 1807, he succeeded in persuading parliament to abolish the death penalty for some crimes such as private stealing but not for others such as shoplifting. The next four decades of the nineteenth century saw the gradual abolition of the death penalty for a large number of offences. The Punishment of Death – Act 1832, reduced the number of capital crimes to around 60 in England, and around 1861, the number of capital offences had been reduced to just four. The last man to be publicly executed in the United Kingdom was Michael Barrett, on the 26th of May 1868. He was hanged for his part of the Clerkenwell Bombing in December 1866. Three days after Barrett’s execution, Parliament passed the Capital Punishment Amendment Act 1868, which was essentially an act forcing all executions to happen within prison grounds. From the 1860s, murder was the only peacetime crime for which offenders were sentenced to death and executed. That remained the position until the abolition of the death penalty, excluding some offences made during both world wars where offenders were sentenced to death for reasons other than murder. During World War 1, British and Commonwealth soldiers were executed for offences under the Army Act 1881 and the Indian Army Act 1911, such as cowardice and desertion. The 20th century saw numerous restrictions placed on capital punishment. Section 103 of the Children Act 1908 stated that no child under the age of 16 could be executed. The minimum age for execution was raised to 18 – the legally recognised age of the beginning of adulthood, by s 52 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. The last person under the age of 18 to be executed was 17-year-old Charles Dobel, who was executed at Maidstone – along with William Gower, aged 18 – on 2 January 1889, for murder. The most significant restriction on the use of capital punishment in the 20th century was the Homicide Act in 1957, which stated that other than the new offence of capital murder (5 categories in which would provide sufficient evidence that the murder was deliberately only for personal gain), all other murders were to be non-capital murder and were punished with a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. However this 1957 Act was met with much opposition, both retentionists and abolitionists alike were offended at the anomalies that the Act created. Whilst this act was designed to prevent a complete abolition of capital punishment, it represented the beginning of the end of capital punishment. The Murder Bill (Abolition of the Death Penalty) was introduced by Sydney Silverman in 1964. During the bill’s second reading, on the 21st of December 1964, Silverman pointed out that in multiple ways, capital punishment for murder had been abolished by the 1957 Homicide Act, and that the question the House of Commons faced was whether the limited exceptions to capital punishment preserved by the 1957 Act ought to be retained. In the end after multiple debates to and fro, the bill passed and the Murder Act 1965 came into effect on the 9th of November 1965. The death penalty for capital murder in England, Scotland and Wales was suspended for a period of five years, and 16 men who were under sentence of death at the time were reprieved. The main disgruntle on the abolition of capital punishment was a possible increase in recidivism and crime rates due to crimes resulting in a more passive sentence. (13)The term ‘homicide’ covers the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. (14)This graph clearly shows that there has been an increase in the murder rate since the abolition of the death penalty. In 1965, homicide rate was approximately 6.8 per million population; by 2002, this figure had doubled to 16.6 per million. Though it is very difficult and completely unjustified, due to numerous contributing factors, to say that the abolition of capital punishment has been responsible for the significant increase, the statistics presented above suggests that the abolition of capital punishment has possibly provided an incentive for criminals. According to an article produced in The Telegraph, criminals are committing up to 2000 murders, rapes and other serious offences every year, just months after having completed a punishment sentence for a previous crime. The Ministry of Justice annual reoffending statistics show the number of criminals who reoffend within a year of either leaving prison or having completed a community punishment. The statistics showed that 501 offences classed in the “most serious” categories, were committed by those who had left jail or finished a community sentence in the first 3 months of 2009. The “most serious” crime category includes murder, rape, child abuse, wounding and serious assaults. This figure was a 54% increase on the 326 recidivisms in the first quarter of 2000. Lyn Costello, from Mothers against Murder and Aggression said: “This shows that rehabilitation has to be looked at seriously and question whether we are releasing people who have not been rehabilitated.” A ministry of Justice spokeswoman also said that the figures above emphasise the need for a completely new approach for tackling offenders and re offenders. A poll taken by the Guardian newspaper seemed to suggest the public’s desire for the return of capital punishment. 45% of those asked believed capital punishment for murderers deterred others from commiting murder, 41% disagreed that it was a deterrent and the other 13% were not sure. The statistics provide a clear indication that there was a bigger proportion of people who felt that there was a clear benefit of capital punishment, thus suggesting that Britain’s public possibly felt more safe with the death penalty enacted, due to their preconceived notion of it preventing further murders. The Independent British newspaper also produced a poll that found 53% of those surveyed want a return to capital punishment, the poll questioned 2,060 adults on the 21st and 22nd of February. Despite the gory past and the numerous petitions and strikes until the abolition of capital punishment in England, the information coupled with the statistics above suggests the public’s change of mind on capital punishment. Though capital punishment no longer exists in society in England, there still seems to be a sense of regret for the abolition of capital punishment. A stark contrast to England and the capital punishment situation there, is Malaysia. Malaysia has a dual track legal system comprised of civil courts running in parallel with Islamic Sharia courts where Muslim Malays can be tried on religious and moral charges. Sharia law is based on the foundational principle that the function of law in islam is to ‘accrue benefit’ for the individual as well as for the common good whilst repelling harm, this is agreed by both classical and contemporary jurist. This definition of the Sharia law thus explains why the death penalty is still practised in the twenty first century society we live in today.