Format Type: PDF
Read Online: 1287
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.