Defining Fair Punishment

Decent Essays

“The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

What is the purpose of punishment? Ultimately a fair and effective punishment must not only prevent future transgressions, but also teach a valuable life lesson. While some punishments may seem standard: a grounding for breaking curfew, a detention for misbehaving in class, a jail sentence for robbery, not all punishments are so cut and dry. Take the case of Casey Heynes. A video which has since gone viral depicts the March 2011 incident. Ritchard Gale, 12, appears to tease and taunt Casey, 15, and unleash a few unretaliated punches. In response, Casey picks Ritchard up, and slams him to the ground. While Ritchard was relatively physically unscathed in the encounter, Casey could have inflicted quite serious damage. It was revealed through family and witness interviews that Casey was indeed provoked, and had suffered bullying at the hands of classmates for years. Regardless, school and societal rules were broken, and consequences must follow. What then, is a fair punishment? Casey Heynes should receive a four day at-home suspension. In addition, he should participate in a bullying prevention group at his school and attend a one day anger management course. This represents a fair punishment, as it acts as a reasonable deterrent, allows Casey to demonstrate remorse, and is reflective of both Casey and Ritchard’s feelings. In order for a punishment to be

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