Punishment is built around the moral foundations of correction and/or retribution. It is a contentious issue and elicits varied reactions from different individuals in equal measure. Punishment aims to reaffirm the presence of a societal code of ethics and not suffering as it is misconstrued. It is served proportionate with the infringement committed. The universality of punishment in society dictates that negation of laws must be met with appropriate sanctions. In modern society, such infringements are met with incarceration, fines, and death among others.
Various perspectives are held towards the necessity of punishment in society. Some quarters indicate that it is the best restitution of justice for the victims while others see punishment as a non-curative methodology for wrong. Fleming, in her submissions, inquires the time it could take for a convicted thief’s stealing habit to be cured (7). Her perspectives and inquisition open a whole Pandora on the applicability and acceptability of punishment by the offenders and/or their willingness to change after the application of these punitive procedures.
The moral justification for punishment pegs itself on the idea of deterrence of an individual from future misconduct. In most cases, the innocent get caught in the crossfire and end up bearing the brunt. Mackenzie and Souryal in their publication argue that retributivists argue that punishment should be dispensed regardless of its valuable effect (49). They champion for punishment being equivalent to the offence committed regardless of guilt or attitude towards the aggrieved. ( Mackenzie and Souryal 49)
Typical of any remediation undertakings, justification of punishment should be hybridized to include aggressors’ attitudes towards the aggressed including remorse, guilt determination by the jurors, and nature of the offence committed. Punishment to the offender may not deliver recourse to the victim but may reassure the victim that whatever the offender did to them would not be done on any other member of society. This, therefore, calls for an integrated mechanism that would capture and decolonize the mindsets and well-being of the punished and the offended.
Fleming, Julia. “Reforming Our Responses to Crime: Recent Papal Contributions.” Journal of Religion & Society 18 (2019): 7-18.
Mackenzie , D L and C C Souryal . “Boot Camp Survey: Rehabilitation, Recidivism, Reduction Outrank Punishment as Main Goals.” Corrections Today (2018).