Crime And Punishment Essay

1672 WordsOct 22, 20087 Pages
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT People have different views about crime and punishment. There are the "die hard liberals" who want to give criminals a second chance, but just as extreme are those who want to hand out punishment on a specific schedule and not take justifying factors into account. Those are two very wide views but there are many who are in the middle. There are in fact many different theories of crime and punishment. The death penalty was given for lesser crimes than murder when it first arose, but today, that would be unconscionable. Throughout my paper, I will give some background information on the topic of punishment. I will also give real life examples to support each point of view. Much about crime and punishment is tied to social norms. In the past, children were spanked and hit with objects like switches. Today, a lot of the punishment dished out to children in the past is illegal. Times change, but by and large, theories of crime stay the same. There are basic ideas about crime and punishment and many of these ideas come from philosophers like Rawls, Kant and Morris whose views will be discussed. There is the idea of social control, where people should be locked away so that they do no more harm and then there are ideas about deterrence. The latter is quite popular as it suggests that crime should be punished so that there is a deterrent effect. In other words, if there is a harsh punishment, people will think twice about doing it. Martha Stewart for example was a victim of this line of thinking. She broke the rules and was punished in the extreme. This way, others who might dabble in stocks might think twice before lying to a committee. And then there is the theory of retribution. Retribution is punishment for the sake of punishment. The punishment must fit the crime under this model. It is also very basic and does not

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