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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.
In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.
In this path-breaking book, David Garland argues that punishment is a complex social institution that affects both social relations and cultural meanings. Drawing on theorists from Durkheim to Foucault, he insightfully critiques the entire spectrum of social thought concerning punishment, and reworks it into a new interpretive synthesis. "Punishment and Modern Society is an outstanding delineation of the sociology of punishment. At last the process that is surely the heart and soul of criminology, and perhaps of sociology as well—punishment—has been rescued from the fringes of these 'disciplines'. . . . This book is a first-class piece of scholarship."—Graeme Newman, Contemporary Sociology "Garland's treatment of the theorists he draws upon is erudite, faithful and constructive. . . . Punishment and Modern Society is a magnificent example of working social theory."—John R. Sutton, American Journal of Sociology "Punishment and Modern Society lifts contemporary penal issues from the mundane and narrow contours within which they are so often discussed and relocates them at the forefront of public policy. . . . This book will become a landmark study."—Andrew Rutherford, Legal Studies "This is a superbly intelligent study. Its comprehensive coverage makes it a genuine review of the field. Its scholarship and incisiveness of judgment will make it a constant reference work for the initiated, and its concluding theoretical synthesis will make it a challenge and inspiration for those undertaking research and writing on the subject. As a state-of-the-art account it is unlikely to be bettered for many a year."—Rod Morgan, British Journal of Criminology Winner of both the Outstanding Scholarship Award of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section
An acclaimed criminologist examines America's ongoing war against violent crime, arguing that ever-increasing rates of imprisonment have not reduced--and will not reduce--crime rates and offering a range of tested alternatives based on deterrence. Tour.
In this book, David Boonin examines the problem of punishment, and particularly the problem of explaining why it is morally permissible for the state to treat those who break the law in ways that would be wrong to treat those who do not? Boonin argues that there is no satisfactory solution to this problem and that the practice of legal punishment should therefore be abolished. Providing a detailed account of the nature of punishment and the problems that it generates, he offers a comprehensive and critical survey of the various solutions that have been offered to the problem and concludes by considering victim restitution as an alternative to punishment. Written in a clear and accessible style, The Problem of Punishment will be of interest to anyone looking for a critical introduction to the subject as well as to those already familiar with it.

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