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There are conflicting theories and opinions about the laws, rules, and customs that regulate everyday life and about how to deal with those who violate accepted standards. Formal punishment of individuals as an organized reaction to lawbreaking prompts serious debates concerning justice versus utility, universality versus particularity, and consensus versus conflict. The problematic nature of punishment has been a major philosophical and practical concern in Western societies for centuries. Who has the right to punish? How should society punish? How much punishment is just? Punishment involves agencies and representatives of government depriving people of their liberty. It is a means of social control intended to cause a measure of "suffering" to those who violate the law and harm others. Punishing a member of society raises serious moral and ethical concerns; it also raises questions about social issues such as equality and discrimination. Punishment is a component of the criminal justice system commonly taken for granted. Most individuals have an opinion about punishment based on their general view of what is right and what is wrong. There are, however, invisible aspects of punishment that affect not only those who break the law and those directly affected by the incarceration of the lawbreaker but also the society that decides what type of punishment is meted out. The theoretical arguments and justifications for punishment reveal the values of society concerning justice, human rights, social equality, and relations between the state and its citizens.
More than 2 million persons occupy America's prisons and jails today -- the highest per capita incarceration rate in U.S. history. With just 6 percent of the world's population, the United States now holds 25 percent of its prisoners. At what social cost do we build and fill more prisons? In Good Punishment? James Samuel Logan critiques the American obsession with imprisonment as punishment, calling it "retributive degradation" of the incarcerated. His analysis draws on both salient empirical data and material from a variety of disciplines -- social history, anthropology, law and penal theory, philosophy of religion -- as he uncovers the devastating social consequences (both direct and collateral) of imprisonment on such a large, unprecedented scale. A distinctive contribution of this book lies in its development of a Christian social ethics of "good punishment" embodied as a politics of "healing memories" and "ontological intimacy." Logan earnestly explores how Christians can best engage with the real-life issues and concerns surrounding the American practice of imprisonment.
Rehabilitating and Resettling Offenders in the Community is a significant examination of the historical development of work with offenders and their treatment by the state and society. It offers unique perspectives and a wealth of information drawn from numerous interviews with probation staff. Highlights how the work of probation staff has changed over time and the reasons behind these changes Includes discourse with probation staff carried out over many years for a comprehensive, ‘insiders’ view of the situation Focuses on contemporary issues, including the changes brought in by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Written by a leading academic with extensive experience in the probation service
Like most discussions within the tradition of rights-talk, this study is motivated by the desire to promote the idea that rights are moral assets that people should acquire in the course of their membership within social and political frameworks. However, while most participants in rights-talk concentrate on the safety and protection constraints required for a successful exercising of rights, the present study inquires into the circumstances under which people's rights lose their validity. The author believes that if we want to prevent the erosion of the role of rights within society and to encourage their obligatory status, we should prevent their misuse, or their unjustified or excessive use. Those who have interests in rights, and are concerned about their withdrawal or denial, will find a unique and inventive way of dealing both with the use, as well as the abuse of rights.
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