Rehabilitation Is More Important Than Punishment

1042 Words5 Pages
Often this issue is framed as rehabilitation vs punishment, as if it's an all or nothing choice between the two options. In reality most people would agree that some kind of balance between the two is favourable. Yet all too often rehabilitation seems to be a mere footnote and punishment is seen as the priority. I will be arguing that this emphasis should be inverted, and that when dealing with convicted criminals rehabilitation should be society's main aim with punishment given less priority. I will attempt to prove that the benefit of merely punishing criminals is minimal and that a justice system that prioritises rehabilitation would have far more overall benefit to society as a whole. A third important aspect to the justice system is keeping dangerous and violent individuals off the streets. This often seems to be equated with punishment, while the two are actually quite distinct and separate aims. I agree that there is often a need to isolate dangerous people from society at large, the question here is what our aims for the individual should be while they are in isolation. Emotion (1) Of the arguments one tends to hear in favour of prioritising punishment, the most persuasive are often emotional arguments. "How would you feel" people will say, "if someone murdered your family? You'd want to see them punished, wouldn't you?" The answer is of course, invariably "yes" but this clouds the issue of what is of practical benefit to society as a whole. Victims of violent crime and the families of victims need care, compassion and support. They need to know that they are not in danger from the person who has attacked them. What they don't need, and what society shouldn't encourage them to seek, is vengeance. Executing a murderer will not bring back the departed loved one and any emotional satisfaction gained is likely to be short lived and will not wipe
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