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[[abstract]]Although Taiwan is not the only country that retains the use of capital punishment, its political and social situation has made the popularity of this penal institution unusual. In this country, where most people do not trust the court, and the society is divided on the identity of this state, the death penalty, which is state sponsored and judicially sanctioned, has surprisingly gained a lot of support from the public. Apparently, the death penalty has offered the society "something" that has made the people disregard their political differences and judicial distrust. This paper is intended to explore the social functions or meanings of the death penalty by using sociological theories of punishment, particularly that of Emile Durkheim, to analyze texts supporting this penal institution. From categorizing and analyzing the arguments courts provide to justify their decisions to execute the defendants, I will demonstrate that capital punishment in Taiwan is used as a reassertion of the moral order that was once jeopardized by the defendant. This harsh penal institution is thus resolutely defended by many people, even though its deterrent effect has been seriously questioned and retributive sentiments have been opposed. The purpose of this paper is not to provide an additional justification for the death penalty. It is rather a reminder for abolitionists not to overlook any possible "positive" meaning of the death penalty, if they really want to put an end to this penal institution in the human society.