Punishment: Forms and Functions Essay

1345 Words Jan 22nd, 2015 6 Pages
In a contemporary society where crime takes place we expect the state authority to dispense justice in the form of punishment to maintain social solidarity. There are many forms of punishment that can be given to an offender, each with their own functions for the offender and society itself.
Imprisonment is one of the most widely used forms of punishments globally, the ideology of imprisonment globally tends to remain the same. There are several functions of imprisonment and whether it is an effective method of punishment is widely argued by sociologist. To remove the offender from society, as to keep society safe is one function that stands out, by putting the offender in a high security environment you take away their freedom to commit
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This form of punishment works based on the idea of giving young people who have committed the change to go through a programme or carry on with their sentence. This form of punishment works based on the idea of deterrence as mentioned in item B, which in the case of this form of punishment where it is heavily applied it is successful proven by the low rates of reoffending after graduation from correctional facilities.
However it can be argued it’s difficult to prove the effectiveness of deterrence, because only the offenders who weren’t deterred by possible consequences of the actions will come to face the enforcement of the punishment, therefore it does not tell us why others do not offend. Making punishments based on deterrence is based on a key concept that offenders choose to obey or disobey the law having calculated the possible gains and consequences of their actions. It could be argued that all forms of punishment are based on deterrence, we have punishment to deter the public from committing crimes, and it forces society to conform.
Over the many centuries that there have been prison systems there have been changes in the way offenders have been treated, one concept that is present in today’s prison system is the idea of rehabilitation, this is aiming to reform the offender to give them the support and skills they needs to be able to go back into society once they have served
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