week 6 assignment Punishment Research Paper
week 6 assignment Punishment Research Paper
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Date Created: 11/16/15
Punishment Research Paper 1 Running head: PUNISHMENT RESEARCH PAPER Punishment Research Paper Dawnette Dunkley University of Phoenix Sociology120 Instructor: Loren Butler Punishment Research Paper 2 Punishment Research Paper Throughout history and in every era, American society struggles to find adequate punishments to address deviant and criminal behaviors. The reality is, punishment is an inherent part of people’s lives; it manifests itself in the way parents reprimand children, teaching them about responsibility, accountability, and consequences as well as in the way the judicial system punishes offenders. Unlike Iran that amputates systematically the arm(s) of people accused of stealing; the American justice system provides less severe ways in which to address similar offenses. In the United States, the severity of the punishment is based usually on the degree of the offense, which ranges between paying fines, probation, imprisonment, or execution. Yes, America has had its share of seemingly barbaric punishments for crimes, as its last public execution was only 73 years ago, with the public execution of RaineyBethea. Four different types of justification for punishment in American society include retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and societal protection. Even though each of these justifications for punishment helps to reduce crime rates in society, each has its share of controversy, with both advantages and drawbacks. The concept of punishment evolves overtime and garners both supporters and detractors, as proponents and opponents argue whether punishment do more harm than good. Assessment of punishment continues to be a hot button issue in American society today; therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of each of these four types of punishments as they relate to today’s American society. Additionally, the purpose is to discuss which of these types of punishment deters crimes most effectively; furthermore, it will discuss whether consequences of punishment provide any benefits for criminals or society. Punishment Research Paper 3 Retribution Satisfying society’s need for retribution is the earliest form of justification for punishment. Retribution is basically moral revenge or retaliation against someone who commits a wrongful act or crime, as society makes criminals suffer as much as the suffering they inflict. Many people believe criminality upset the moral order in society and view retribution as the only means by which to exact punishment to restore moral balance. However, most opponents, including criminologists, human rights activists, and jurists believe the whole concept of retribution is simply a fancy name for revenge and it is not necessarily the best solution. In fact, Berns (2004) held that opponents dismiss and distrust retribution as a justification for punishment. Most people believe that trust and friendship are essential elements that make up the foundation of a moral community; therefore, criminal violations of this foundation, not only affect the individual victim, it affects the whole community. For instance, a rash of murders in a community may cause both close family members of the victims and the community at large to seek retribution. Most people may believe that to restore order to this community, the punishment should fit the crime, which in this case means execution of the offender. One may argue however, if retribution is such an effective deterrent, why are there such high rate of criminal recidivism? For this reason Nussim & Tabbach (2009) cite that, although retribution helps people to avenge the wrongs committed against them; avenging the wrongs in society may not necessarily deter criminal activity. Consequently, retribution can be a deterrent factor against Punishment Research Paper 4 committing crimes, but it does not provide much benefit for criminals; however, it helps to restore moral balance to society. Deterrence The Enlightenment idea of the 18 century was responsible for the concept that purports that because humans have the ability to think and behave rationally; they are less likely to break the law if threat of harsh punishment outweighs the pleasure of the crime. So in response to what many perceive as harsh punishment associated with retribution, deterrence is viewed as a better alternative for discouraging criminality. As a result, milder forms of punishment like imprisonment replaced harsher punishments such as public executions and physical mutilation. Opponents of capital punishment hold the notion that offenders do not necessarily fear death, as they do not take the time to ponder the consequences of their actions. However, proponents may argue that, but for the consequence of the death penalty; many in law enforcement would not be alive today. The knowledge of possible death penalty makes criminals less likely to murder law enforcement officers, thus reducing the murder rate (Lowe, 2008). The American justice system assesses many forms of punishment to deter crime; besides the death penalty, fear of imprisonment, probation, and paying large fines are effective reform measures in crime deterrence. Deterrence is essentially about proactive prevention rather than reactive prosecution. Both criminals and society benefit, as it makes wouldbecriminals more fearful to commit crimes as they weigh the consequences of their actions; it reduces recidivism, and it acts as an additional form of protection for both law enforcement and society. Punishment Research Paper 5 Rehabilitation Rehabilitation has to do with implementation of programs aimed at reforming offenders to prevent recidivism. Along with recidivism, the concept of rehabilitation began in the 19 century by sociologists, who theorize that there is a connection between deviant behavior and social environment. They essentially believe that deviant behavior is learned; therefore, it is possible to reprogram or reform offenders to abide by the laws of society. Rehabilitation programs are usually done in a controlled environment such as houses of correction or reformatories (Levenson, Prescott, & D’Amora, 2010). Recidivism continues to be an issue in today’s society and it is one contributory factor that has an effect on the crime rate in the United States. Lowenkamp, Makarios, Latessa, Lemke, & Smith (2010) research reveal that, juvenile correction programs that target high risk youth with the use of cognitive behavioral modalities and qualified staff has more effect on decreasing incidence of repeat offences. This type of punishment benefits both criminals and society; as rehabilitation provides youth and adult a different perspective that safeguard against re offending, allowing them to become better citizens. On the other hand, society benefits as citizens can live in safer neighborhood, and decrease in crime rate means less taxpayer funding to operate prison systems (Lowenkamp et al, 2010). Societal Protection Societal protection is a justification of punishment used whenever rehabilitation or retribution fails to deter dangerous criminals in society. Societal protection incapacitates dangerous offenders from perpetrating more harm, temporarily through imprisonment or permanently through execution. This type of punishment is a rational approach consistently used against Punishment Research Paper 6 criminals such as serial killers, the criminally insane, and other criminals that pose a threat to society. The issue of treating some juvenile offenders as adult in the American justice system is extremely controversial. Traditionally, the ideal of the juvenile justice system is to treat and rehabilitate young offenders. However, Tate, Reppucci, & Mulvey (1995) reports that, incarcerating some juvenile offenders in the adult criminal justice system is sometimes necessary for societal protection against dangerous and violent juvenile offenders. Like dangerous animals that need to be caged or euthanized, some people believe extremely violent and dangerous criminals should be separated from society. Opponents of the death penalty argue that death penalty is immoral and ineffective in deterring crimes, as states that perform executions has some of the highest crime rates in America. Bayat (2008) counters by stating that, the death penalty is indeed a moral act and further states that by killing, murderers forfeit their rights to life. With regard to cost, years of long, tedious court appeals on death penalty cases are usually more expensive than imprisonment. In fact, Simon (2008) reports that, over the past two and a half decades, death penalty cases cost the state of Illinois $800 million more than cases resulting in imprisonment. Removal of violent and dangerous criminals provides no benefit for criminals, but it benefits society by providing citizen a sense of restoration of law and order. Societal protection literally protects the lives of potential victims and ultimately helps in the reduction crimes. Conclusion Punishment Research Paper 7 In conclusion, deterrence as a justification for punishment seems to be the most effective in deterring crime. Measures by which the American justice system assesses punishment for crimes will always be debatable. Punishments such as retribution and societal protection serve as specific and general deterrence, which demonstrate to everyone the consequences of crime. Although rehabilitation, to a certain degree helps to deter crime; its basic theory that draws connection between social environment and deviant behavior does not necessarily holds true. The truth is, deviant behavior affects every stratification of society. Yes, poverty, childhood abuse, and lack of education are circumstances that may expose individuals to crime; however, ultimately, the responsibility for choosing to be lawabiding citizen or choosing to be a criminal remains with the individual. Punishment Research Paper 8 References Bayat, M. Z. (2008). Capital Punishment Maintains Law and Order. Current Controversies: Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime? Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from Thomas Gale database. Berns, W. (2004). Retribution Is a Moral Reason for Capital Punishment. Current Controversies: The Ethics of Capital Punishment. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Retrievied June 25, 2010, from Thomas Gale database. Levenson, J., Prescott, D., & D'Amora, D. (2010). Sex Offender Treatment. International Journal of Offender Therapy & Comparative Criminology, 54(3), 307326 doi:10.1177/0306624X08328752 Lowe, W. (2008). Consistent and Swift Application of the Death Penalty Reduces Murder Rates. Current Controversies: Does Capital Punishment Deter Crimes? Opposing Viewpoints Resource Punishment Research Paper 9 Center. Retrieved June 26, 2010, from Thomas Gale database. Lowenkamp, C., Makarios, M., Latessa, E., Lemke, R., & Smith, P. (2010). Community Corrections Facilities for Juvenile Offenders in Ohio. Criminal Justice Behavior, 37(6), 695708. doi:10.1177/0093854810363721 Nussim, J., & Tabbach, A. (2009). Deterrence and avoidance. International Review of Law & Economics, 29(4), 314323. doi:10.1016/j.irle.2009.05.001. Simon, P. (2008). Capital Punishment Does Not Make Nation Safer. Current Controversies: Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime? Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from Thomas Gale database. Tate, D., Reppucci, N., & Mulvey, E. (1995). Violent Juvenile Delinquents. Treatment Effectiveness and Implications for Future Action. The American Psychologists, 50(9), 777781. retrieved June 25, 2010, from MEDLINE with Full Text database. . Punishment Research Paper 10 .
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