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Punishment a Personal View

Essay by   •  February 13, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,669 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,418 Views

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Table of Contents

Introduction..........................................................................................................................................4

The concept of Punishment...................................................................................................5

The definition of Punishment....................................................................................5-6

The Utilitarianism concept of Punishment......................................................6

The Liberal Justification of Punishment...................................................7-8

My personal opinion of Punishment..................................................................9-10

Conclusion.............................................................................................................................................11

References.............................................................................................................................................12

Introduction

In my opinion punishment is a term that is well known best by children and criminals. As a child you learn what you can and cannot do in life by pushing the limits, seeing just how far you can go before being punished. You push those limits via through your school, peers, family, society or the criminal justice system. Punishment is a course in life that if presented correctly the teacher will teach the student a life long lesson. That is why when a person has done something wrong he or she should be punished as close as possible to the time and or place of the incident. "If punishment is long delayed, the connection between it and the offense becomes stained. It makes little sense to punish someone who has long behaving properly for a transgression long past." (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2002)

Punishment gives a person or society as sense of security. The security is that if someone commits an offense against someone that they will be punished. There have been many famous philosophers and theorist that have studied the term punishment. They have studied the different types of punishment and it effects. The goals of punishment and the rule that it plays in today's society have changed throughout the times.

The concept of punishment its definition, its use, and the justification of its use have baffled many countries for centuries. Punishment takes many forms. A parent may ground their child because they refused to do their homework, an employer may fire a worker that is caught stealing, or the government may send a bank robber to jail for robbing a bank. "Throughout history, children have been punished for bad behavior, whether it be physical (for example, a slap or even a blow in more primitive times), psychological (for example, being deprived of a valued possession or opportunity such as dessert or television), or shaming (for example, having to stand in a corner). The emphasis was on letting children know that the behaviors for which they were being punished were not acceptable and on conditioning a response to prevent those behaviors in the future." (Seiter, 2002)

Punishment is a means of deterring a person from indulging in unwanted behavior. The Oxford English dictionary defines the term punishment as "the action of punishing. The penalty imposed for an offence. The harsh or rough treatment." (Oxford, 2002)

The term punishment has been installed in almost everyone at a young age; it did not take long before you as a child, to know what was the right or wrong thing to do. If you did something, which is considered wrong, there were consequences for getting involved in such behavior. I think that when a person gets involved in such unwanted behavior they should be punished. Many people such as myself believe in the utilitarianism theory.

One of the great writers of utilitarianism was the famous John Stuart Mills who states: "All actions is for the sake of some end, and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and color from the end to which they are subservient." (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2002) This theory is considered as the consequentialist ethical theory. "In other words, the utilitarian holds that we judge the morality of an action in terms of the consequences or results of that action." (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2002) "The insight that motivates consequentialism is this: a moral action produces something good; an immoral action produces a bad or harmful result." (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2002)

In order for a person not to engage or get involve with unwanted behavior the punishment must out weigh the pleasure of the conduct. The punishment should out weigh the pleasure of the conduct, but should not be unbelievable harsh or inhumane. That is one of the problems with punishment; there is always a battle of what is considered too much punishment vs. what is considered to little amount of punishment. "The punishment is intended to be painful in some sense; it is a negative sanction that most rational persons would wish to avoid." (Seiter, 2002)

Philosophers such as the great French political theorist Montesquieu believe that "the Punishment should fit the crime."(Hugo, 2003) When punishing a person for committing an offense you need to punish the person in a reasonable amount of time. This is done in order for the person to connect the punishment with the offense.

"The classic justifications and goals for punishment are retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation."(Reichel, 238) Retribution is when a person feels that a person should be punish because that person has committed a crime against them or "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth."(Reichel, 238) The term deterrence is when the person is punished in hopes of deterring a person from such behavior in the future. The term rehabilitation is when the offender is offered treatment that will rehabilitate the person into a law-abiding citizen. The last term is incapacitation this is when the person's freedom

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