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Crime and Punishment

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RE Essay: Crime and Punishment

Explain the forms of punishment?

Protection:

In the prison system, imprisonment has the effect of confining prisoners, physically preventing them from committing crimes against those outside, i.e. protecting the community and society. The most dangerous criminals may be sentenced to life imprisonment, or even to irreparable alternatives, the death penalty, or castration of sexual offenders - for this reason of the common good.

Deterrence:

Deterrence means moving someone away from future wrongdoing, by making the punishment severe enough that the benefit gained from the offence is outweighed by the cost of the punishment.

Deterrence is a very common reason given for why someone should be punished. It is often believed that punishment, especially if made known to or even witnessed be the punisher's peers, can also deter them from committing similarly punishable offences, and thus serves a greater good preventively.

However, it is sometimes claimed that using punishment as a deterrent has the fundamental flaw that human nature tends to ignore the possibility of punishment until they are caught, and actually can be attracted even more to the 'forbidden fruit', or even for various reasons glorify the punisher, e.g. admiring a fellow for 'taking it like a man'. Furthermore, especially with children and depending on the issue, feelings of bitterness and resentment can arouse towards the punisher (parent) who threaten a child with punishment as it doesn't feel respected.

Restoration:

For minor offences, punishment may take the form of the offender "righting the wrong" for example, a vandal might be made to clean up the mess he has made.

In more serious cases, punishment in the form of fines and compensation payments may also be considered a sort of "restoration".

Retribution:

Retribution is "getting even" with a wrongdoer - the suffering of the wrongdoer is seen as good in itself, even if it has no other benefits. One reason for societies to include this judicial element is to diminish the perceived need for street justice, blood revenge and vigilantism. However, some argue that such acts of street justice and blood revenge are not removed from society, but responsibility for carrying them out is merely transferred to the state. "an eye for an eye"

Rehabilitation:

Some punishment includes work to reform and rehabilitate the wrongdoer so that they will not commit the offence again. This is distinguished from deterrence, in that the goal here is to change the offender's attitude to what they have done, and make them come to accept that their behaviour was wrong.

How does each of these ways reflect Christian beliefs?

Deterrence:

This way of punishment in my opinion doesn't reflect any Christian beliefs because it's no help for the criminal and is no help for the community or society either, the only thing it is doing is hurting the criminal, it doesn't exactly make them a better person so it doesn't really reflect any beliefs.

Protection:

This is obviously not on the side of the prisoner, it's more to do with the community and society. This way of punishment protects people

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