Corrections - Punishment v. Rehabilitation

714 Words3 Pages
Crime seems to be an unending problem in the United States. It is everywhere we look. We turn on the TV and see news reports of crime. We avoid certain parts of the city we live in for fear of victimization. The criminal justice system in the United States serves not only to punish, but to rehabilitate offenders as well. To define punishment, “punishment, in the sense of a sanction imposed for a criminal offense, consists of five elements: 1. It must involve an unpleasantness to the victim. 2. It must be for an offense, actual or supposed. 3. It must be of an offender, actual or supposed. 4. It must be the work of personal agencies; in other words, it must not be the natural consequence of an action. 5. It must be imposed by an authority or an institution against whose rules the offense has been committed. If this is not the case, then the act is not one of punishment but is simply a hostile act. Similarly, direct action by a person who has no special authority is not properly called punishment, and is more likely to be revenge or an act of hostility.” When using a theoretical approach to the question of why we punish criminals, the same source raises the issues of: • They deserve to be punished. • Punishment will stop them from committing further crimes. • Punishment tells the victim that society disapproves of the harm that he or she has suffered. • Punishment discourages others from doing the same thing. • Punishment protects society from dangerous or dishonest people. • Punishment allows an offender to make amends for the harm he or she caused. • Punishment ensures that people understand that laws are there to be obeyed. However, the method of punishment implemented in the United States today is obviously not
Open Document