The Purpose of Punishment in a Modern Society

Punishment has been in existence since the early colonial period and has continued throughout history as a method used to deter criminals from committing criminal acts. Philosophers believe that punishment is a necessity in today’s modern society as it is a worldwide response to crime and violence. Friedrich Nietzche’s book “Punishment and Rehabilitation” reiterates that “punishment makes us into who we are; it creates in us a sense of responsibility and the ability to take and release our social obligations” (Blue, Naden, 2001). Immanuel Kant believes that if an individual commits a crime then punishment should be inflicted upon that individual for the crime committed. Cesare Beccaria, also believes that if there is a breach of the law by individuals then that individual should be punished accordingly.

According to David Garland, punishment is a legal process where violators of the criminal law are condemned and sanctioned with specified legal categories and procedures (Garland, 1990). There are different forms and types of punishment administered for various reasons and can either be a temporary or lifelong type of punishment. Punishment can be originated as a cause from parents or teachers with misbehaving children, in the workplace or from the judicial system in which crimes are committed against the law. The main aim of punishment is to demonstrate to the public, the victim and the offender that justice is to be done, to reduce criminal activities and to deter people from wanting to commit any form of crime against the law. In other words it is a tool used to eliminate the bad in society or to deter people from committing criminal activities.

Theories of punishment indicates that criminals and lawbreakers are pr...

... middle of paper ...

... Miethe, T., Lu, H. (2005), Punishment: A comparative historical perspective. Cambridge University Press

Reid, S., (2000). Crime and Criminology, 9th edition. McGraw Hill Publishers. USA

Siegel, L. (2008). Essentials of Criminal Justice. 6th Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Georgia, USA.

White, J. (2000). Contemporary Moral Problems. 9th edition. Cengage Learning Inc. USA

Journal Article

Shichor, D. Following the penological pendulum: The survival of rehabilitation. Federal

Probation, 00149128, Jun92, Vol. 56, Issue 2


Chappels J., (2010). Death Penalty Information Center Issues, 2010 Report.

Retrieved on February 16, 2011

Christianson, S. (2010). Death Penalty Contradictions.

More about The Purpose of Punishment in a Modern Society

Get Access