• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain and analyse the Reasons for Punishment.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Religious Studies Assignment 6 by Marc Piano Explain and analyse the Reasons for Punishment A Categorical Imperative (4) B Natural Moral Law (4) C Intuitionism (4) Punishment, in the context of law, is "a penalty inflicted by a court of justice on a convicted offender as a just retribution, and incidentally for the purposes of reformation and prevention". In this definition, three possible understandings of punishment are stated, but there are several more. Some of the theories or reasons for punishment include retribution, vengeance, rehabilitation (or reform) and deterrence. Retribution and vengeance are backward-looking theories, insofar as they understand punishment to be inflicted as a direct consequence of an offence committed in the past, whereas forward-looking theories such as deterrence, rehabilitation and reconciliation are based on the notion that punishment can change the offender and improve society. Retribution is a theory of punishment based on proportionality or desert, and is best summed up by the adage 'the punishment fits the crime', or lex talionis. The theory claims that individuals are free to act as they wish, and that by choosing to offend and break laws, they choose to accept the consequences of their actions. Thus, punishment is a way of restoring an offender's debt to society, owed through offending, as the theory makes the assumption that an offence does not just cause suffering to a human victim but also to society as a whole, thus the offender must suffer proportionally to compensate. ...read more.

Middle

However, career criminals or those who offend to survive either do not believe they will be caught or are prepared to chance and endure the punishments arising from committing such an offence, either because they offend for a living or offend to survive. No matter how harsh punishments may be, those who are determined enough to offend will not be deterred. For example, people who steal food to survive are prepared to risk incarceration as they will die if they do not commit the offence. The advantages and disadvantages of the theories of punishment above show that one system on its own cannot fully encompass the administration of punishment necessary to operate a legal system. Many countries, including the UK, operate a hybrid system, whereby retributive theory operates in conjunction with rehabilitation, so that whilst offenders are suffering through deprivation of liberty and/or remuneration, they are also undergoing rehabilitative programmes so that when they have finished their sentence they have been both punished and reformed so that they are better citizens. Vengeance theory is generally not employed by legal systems, as examples of vigilantism in the UK following the publication of the names and addresses of paedophiles shows the vicious and primal nature of uncontrolled emotion when manifested into a thirst for revenge. a. Categorical Imperative Kant's approach to justice is based on his theories of respect and of behaviour according to the Categorical Imperative. ...read more.

Conclusion

Something is right if it leads to something good, and the definition of good, and thus the definition of a good action, is known innately but is not describable. Intuitionists argue that the norms that seem self-evident to us; should be taught by personal example, verbal instruction, praise and blame, and reward and punishment. The extent and appropriateness of punishment is also innately known and understood, which also implies an innate sense of proportion as well, thus people intuitively know that it is 'over the top', for example, to sentence someone to death for the theft of an apple, whereas a long prison sentence or execution for the crime premeditated murder is 'right'. Intuitionists argue that as people 'know' what is right or wrong, most people 'know' and thus choose to break the law, and thus bring punishment upon themselves, subscribing to the retributive theory of justice. Whilst some people may have a different sense of right or wrong, this is discounted as the vast majority of people will intuitively know an action is wrong, and thus it is wrong, even if a few people believe it to be right. However, one of the problems with intuitionism occurs if the society, and thus the moral values, are themselves intrinsically wrong, if, for example, they were to be viewed by an external society. If, for example, we live in a Nazi society, and Nazi norms seem self-evident to us, then Intuitionists would still argue that Nazi norms and intuitions should be taught to our children. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. subcultural theory

    Similarly, Taylor, Walton and Young (1973) have argued that Cloward and Ohlin failed to account for all types of deviant subculture. They argue that " It would be amusing, for instance, to conjecture what Cloward and Ohlin would have made of the Black Panthers or the hippies".

  2. Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Different Aims of Punishment

    Restoration of community and responsibility of all individuals to the community. An opposing view on the aims of punishment is the idea of rehabilitation and reform. Here the focus is on the criminal, someone who couldn't cope with society due to a weakness.

  1. Which is more effective - punishment by imprisonment or with in the community?

    "I was terrified when I first went to prison, but I got used to it. It wasn't scary, it wasn't a deterrent, it was just boring...As soon as I got out I went back to my old ways.... Sometimes I actually preferred being in prison.

  2. This paper attempts to analyse Bacceria's (1764) "On Crimes and Punishment" article. In order ...

    Some argue that Beccaria's assumption was that humans are rational beings who choose courses of action that are likely to give them pleasure whilst avoiding activities that are painful (Bentham 1789, Hazlehurst 1996). The focus here is on voluntarism, or rational free will.

  1. Functionalist accountDurkheim argues that crime is a universal feature of all societies. This is ...

    normal inescapable feature of society, also was aware that particular societies might be in a pathological condition, which generates excessive deviance. This leads into the area of anomie and the work of Robert Merton. (Giddens (2001), p. 203) Robert Merton argues that both human goals and constraints on behaviour are

  2. Offender Profiling Handout

    A Behavioural Investigative Advisor has been defined as follows: "... one who can provide investigative support and advice that links the theoretical basis of behavioural science with its effective application to the investigation of serious crime". This definition could be interpreted as an implicit acknowledgement of past criticisms of offender profiling.

  1. Psychological basis for offender profiling.

    Behavioural information provides an insight into the thinking patterns and personal habits of the offender. The aim of offender profiling is not to solve crime but to provide a means of narrowing down potential suspects by providing information about characteristics of the person who committed the crime.

  2. anti-social behaviour

    within one study, in order to ensure that the data is showing what it is telling. Each of the methods used has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. 3.4 Firstly, relevant questions had to be identified for the questionnaires, which would consolidate the information that was being sought.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work