Theories of Punishment Retribution Reform Vindication Protection Deterrence
Theories of Punishment: Deterrence Deterrence is to deter or put people off from offending or re-offending. The logic of deterrence is: 1. Punishment deters crime. 2. Reducing crime is good. 3. Therefore punishment is good. Deterrence promotes an orderly society so that individuals may exercise their freedom.
Theories of Punishment: Deterrence But Deterrence Might Justify Punishing The Innocent! If too much focus is placed on deterrence innocent people might be used as a ‘means to an end.’ For example, in school a new teacher might deliberately pick on an innocent student and punish them as a way of deterring others from being disruptive. Even if such methods achieved the desired result most people would think such punishment was unfair.
Think! Punishment / Deterrence 1. Effective Deterrents... (A) Cutting off the arm of a car thief? (B) Castrating a paedophile? (C) Death penalty for hi-jack terrorists? Give reasons for your judgements.
Theories of Punishment: Retribution Retribution is to ‘pay back’ the offender for the crime they have committed. It is unjust if the guilty are not punished because they would not receive what they deserve. The type of punishment should be in proportion to the crime which has been committed. This is the meaning behind the Biblical passage, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” So a serious crime should receive a more serious punishment than a minor offence. Justice requires punishments to be neither too harsh nor too lenient, but appropriate to the crime.
Theories of Punishment: Retribution Problems of Retribution: (1) It is not easy to agree on suitable forms of punishment which fit the crime. Can you agree suitable punishments for: 1) A drunk driver who is over the legal alcohol limit and killed a teenage cyclist? 2) A man who spikes a woman’s drink and then rapes her? 3) A youth who steals mobile phones? 4) A property owner who hits and injures a burglar with a stick while trying to defend her property?
Think! Punishment / Retribution Appropriate Punishment? (1) Think of a crime where you would increase the punishment in order to fit the crime. (2) Think of a crime where you would reduce the punishment as it is currently too harsh. (3) What reasons help you to decide whether or not a punishment is appropriate for the crime committed?
Theories of Punishment: Retribution Problems of Retribution: (2) Different cultures view actions differently. Should... Adultery be a crime? Polygamy (having more than one wife / husband) be a crime? Drinking alcohol be a crime? A woman driving a car be crime? In some cultures the above are crimes and the punishment is quite severe! Research: In which counties are the above actions illegal? (You may be surprised!)
Theories of Punishment: Retribution Problems of Retribution: (3) Punishment is its only motive. The 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant, a retributionist, argued, “Punishment by a court can never be inflicted merely as a way of promoting some other good for the criminal himself or for civil society. It must always be inflicted upon him only because he has committed a crime.” Why else should a criminal be punished? “He brings his misdeed back upon himself, and what is done to him is what he has done on others.” (Kant)
Theories of Punishment: Retribution Problems of Retribution: (4) Retribution is backward looking. When punishing an individual retribution looks back to the crime that has been committed and delivers an appropriate punishment. However, other theories of punishment, such as reform, look to the future of how the criminal may be helped so as to restore them to society as a fit and responsible individual who is unlikely to re-offend.
Theories of Punishment: Protection Protection is an aim of punishment. 1. Protect society from criminals re-offending by sending them to prison, where they are no longer a threat to society, or on intensive therapy courses aimed at rehabilitating them. 2. Protect the criminal from revenge attacks from the victim / victim’s family or friends. 3. Protect the criminal from harming themselves.
Think! Punishment / Protection Do you think it is right for society to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on giving criminals a new identity so as to protect them from possible revenge attacks? Give reasons for your views.
Theories of Punishment: Reform Reform aims to correct a criminal’s behaviour so that they are able to resume a life in the community as a responsible, law abiding citizen. Reform means that the punishment should be suitable for the offender, rather than the offence. This means that criminals who have committed similar crimes would receive different sentences depending on their situation and needs. Christians believe that as all human beings are made in the image of God reform is an important feature of punishment.
Think! Punishment / Reform Many consider that “prisons are universities of crime”, and that in sending criminals to prison they are not reformed but come out only to re-offend, which is clearly not good for society. Given the overcrowding of prisons would you be willing to pay higher taxes to lower over-crowding in prison? Money could then be spent funding courses to educate and counsel criminals in prison with the aim that they would be less likely to re-offend?
Theories of Punishment: Vindication \indication of the law means upholding and following the law because it is the law. Out of a sense of justice laws are applied universally so that everyone is answerable to the law. If laws are not respected and followed then a democratic country would collapse into anarchy. Vindication ensures a fair approach to moral decision making, which overcomes the problem of people applying the law in a manner which best suits them.
Romans 13: 1-3 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1-3 is often used by Christians to support the teaching of vindication. St Paul believed that because governments are appointed by God their laws should be respected and followed. Theories of Punishment: Vindication
“An Eye for an Eye” “You Shall Not Murder” Image of God Retribution Protection Deterrence Cult of the Martyrs Reform God is Love Cost Effective Greatest Good Moral Relativism Uncivilised? Innocent Victims? Miscarriage of Justice? Too Harsh / Lenient? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Human Beings - Image of God The Bible says that because human beings are made in the image of God anyone who murders someone should be put to death. “Whoever murders a human being will himself be killed by their fellow human beings; for human beings are created in the image of God.” (Genesis 9:6) Christians believe that human life is sacred, as “Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.”(Genesis 1: 26) Therefore life should always be respected.
When Jesus said, “Treat others as you wish to be treated” he was not talking specifically about Capital Punishment, but about a more general approach to life. Jesus said, “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” (Matthew 7:12) The philosopher Kant thought capital punishment was fair because, “The murderer brings his misdeed back upon himself, and what is done to him is what he has done on others.” Retribution Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
The quotation, “An eye for an eye” is often misunderstood! The quotation expresses a principle of proportionate justice - meaning that the punishment or response should fit the crime. So this quotation was intended to set limits for a just, humane, response for the offence committed. The Bible says, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 21: 24) So those who deliberately take a life by murdering an innocent person should pay the penalty and have their own life taken. An Eye for An Eye Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Deliberately killing a human being is precisely that - killing, no matter who authorises the act. Capital Punishment reduces the State to the same level of the murderer and so it can never be acceptable. Capital Punishment is not murder, as murder is “to kill with malicious intent.” Capital Punishment is a legal killing, approved by the government, against people who have broken the law and murdered innocent people. “You shall not murder.” Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
People can be protected by punishing murderers in other ways which focus on reform and education. Most murders involve a member of the same family and repeat murders are rare. There is also a duty to protect the offending criminal. Laws should protect innocent civilians from living in fear of being murdered. Capital punishment removes the threat that a murderer will kill again - as instead of being released they are put to death. Protection Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Evidence suggests that Capital Punishment does not deter murderers. Of the 12 USA States who did not enact the Death Penalty following the 1976 Supreme Court Ruling, 10 have lower murder rates than the national average. Supporters of Capital Punishment believe the death penalty acts as a deterrence for people who might otherwise be tempted to commit murder. If offenders knew that they might be put to death they would be put off from committing the crime. Deterrence? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
The death penalty turns terrorists and dictators into martyrs and encourages others to “die for the cause.” No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam Hussein was executed and yet the problems in Iraq remain. The death penalty for terrorists and dictators who torture innocent people and even put them to death would deter others from committing similar terrible crimes. Cult of the Martyrs? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Christians believe there is always the opportunity that the offender will repent of their sins. Capital Punishment denies such an opportunity. In The Parable of the Lost Sheep and The Prodigal Son Jesus rejoices at the reformed sinner who returns God. Only God has the authority to show divine mercy. This may happen when the individual stands before God in final judgement. On earth human law should uphold justice and carry out the legal sentence for the crime. Reform Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Love can also mean upholding justice for those who have been the victims of murder, including the deceased’s family and friends. Love and justice go hand in hand. Christians believe that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and so Christians should be prepared to forgive and focus on reforming the offender. Desmond Tutu emphasised the importance of love and forgiveness in South Africa as the way forward after apartheid. God is love Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
It would be a lot cheaper to put serious criminals to death than to pay for them to be kept in high security prisons. Think of the “opportunity cost” where the money spent on keeping such criminals in prison could be spent, e.g. schools, health care.... The issue of Capital Punishment should not be decided by financial cost as it concerns human life. Accepting financial cost as the deciding reason could soon lead to a “slippery slope” with other moral issues, e.g. euthanasia. Cost-Effective Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
The democratic fallacy is an argument which states that the wishes of the majority does not always make for good law. People are often led by their emotions and not by reason, which looks at the evidence. Public Opinion Polls show the majority of people are in favour of Capital Punishment for serious offences, such as murder. The wishes of the majority should become law. The majority of countries in the world have Capital Punishment. Greatest Good for the Greatest number Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
No member of the European Union uses Capital Punishment. The “European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” regards Capital Punishment as a violation of human rights. Different countries make laws that work for them, some of which include Capital Punishment e.g. China, Iran, Singapore, India. The majority of countries in the world have Capital Punishment. Moral Relativism? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
Capital Punishment is barbaric, uncivilized and reduces the State to the level of a murderer. Any country which has Capital Punishment is not allowed to join the European Union. Democratically elected governments have legalised Capital Punishment, such as America in 1976, Supreme Court Ruling. Uncivilized? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
No system, including the law, is 100% perfect. However, considerable care and scrutiny of evidence would take place during a Capital Punishment legal trial to ensure that justice is done. There would also be grounds for Appeal. The death of even one innocent person is one death too many. In many countries trials are unfair and discriminate against people due to race, belief and colour. Innocent Victims? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
If Capital Punishment were legal this might deter juries from finding the accused guilty - knowing that the person may be put to death. This might lead to more “guilty” people being found “not guilty”. Miscarriage of Justice? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against Experienced Judges would conduct Capital Punishment trials and would support the jury in reaching a just verdict based on the evidence witnessed at the trial.
Capital Punishment is more humane than keeping someone locked up in prison for a life- time. Capital Punishment is too quick and easy. Murderers should be made to suffer for their crimes! Sending them to prison is the answer where they can be punished and reflect on what they have done. Too Harsh / Lenient? Capital Punishment: Arguments For and Against
I know Tom’s really sorry for what he’s done and would like to put things right. I just don’t know how he can go about doing it? Forgiveness Reconciliation Confession Penance Absolution Contrition Repentance The Christian teacher St Augustine said, “Condemn the sin, but love the sinner.” The key is for the sinner to follow the steps to forgiveness.
Think! Forgiveness: Sin / Sinner? 1. What do you think Augustine meant when he said, “Condemn the sin, but love the sinner?” 2. Augustine also said, “The ugliness of sin is never without the beauty of punishment!” Are these two ideas compatible?
Repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia: meta meaning change, noia meaning mind. So repentance is examining one’s conscience and having a sincere change of mind or attitude towards the action / sin that has been committed. Forgiveness: Repentance
How would you judge if someone had truly repented for an action or sin they had committed, as opposed to someone who had simply said they had repented, without truly meaning it? Think! Forgiveness / Repentance
Confession is telling the priest of one’s sins. The priest is Christ’s representative to the people and has been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, to show God’s mercy and justice. A priest is bound to follow the ‘sacramental seal’ which means absolute secrecy about the sins revealed to him in confession. Forgiveness: Confession
1. What are the qualities you would look for in a person to whom you might confess a problem or a wrong doing? 2. Think of a time when someone broke a confidence. How did you feel and what did you say to the person? Think! Forgiveness / Confession
Contrition is when a person carefully examines their conscience and is truly sorry for what they have done, the sin they have committed. Contrition, being truly sorry, is perfect when one’s motive is the love of God, and imperfect if it rests on other motives. Contrition includes the determination not to sin again. Forgiveness: Contrition
Students often confuse the terms repentance and contrition. Explain the subtle difference between repentance and contrition. Think! Forgiveness / Contrition
Penance is a task or act of devotion given to the individual by the priest to encourage humility and as a way of showing that the individual has repented and is truly sorry for their sins. Forgiveness: Penance
1. Why do you think the Church instructs an individual to perform an act of penance, what is the point? 2. Suggest suitable acts of penance for a person who has: (a) Committed adultery. (b) Stolen money from their mum’s purse. (c) Repeatedly uses bad and offensive language. (d) Committed murder. Think! Forgiveness / Penance
Absolution follows the acts of repentance, confession, contrition and penance and is a declaration by the priest of the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness: Absolution
Reconciliation is the renewed state of harmony and agreement that now exists between the individual and God, and the individual and the wider community. This leads to a greater sense of peace and spiritual consolation. Forgiveness: Reconciliation
Christians believe that the deep peace that Christ offers is beyond human understanding. Think of a time when you have been reconciled with a person. Try and describe the sense of peace which you felt and how it affected your outlook on life. Think! Forgiveness / Reconciliation
Glossary Absolution A.S.B.O. Capital Punishment Confession Contrition Crime Death Row Deterrence Martyrs Penance Protection Punishment
Glossary Reconciliation Reform Repent Retribution Sacramental Seal Vindication
Glossary Absolution Absolution is a declaration by the priest of the forgiveness of sins. Absolution follows the acts of repentance, confession, contrition and penance and is a declaration by the priest of forgiveness of sins.
Glossary A.S.B.O. A.S.B.O. is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, where young offenders are placed under curfew and are restricted from visiting certain places in their local community.
Glossary Capital Punishment Capital Punishment is the legally authorised punishment of a person by putting them to death. Capital Punishment is also known as the Death Sentence Capital Punishment was abolished and made illegal in the United Kingdom in 1965.
Glossary Confession Confession is telling the priest of one’s sins with a desire to be forgiven The priest is Christ’s representative to the people and has been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, to show God’s mercy and justice.
Glossary Contrition Contrition is when a person carefully examines their conscience and is truly sorry for what they have done, the sin they have committed.
Glossary Crime Crime is when the law is broken, punishable by the state.
Glossary Death Row Death Row is where prisoners sentenced to death are kept as they await their execution.
Glossary Deterrence Deterrence is to deter or put people off from offending or re- offending.
Glossary Martyrs Martyrs are people who are prepared to die for their faith or a cause.
Glossary Penance Penance is a task or act of devotion given to the individual by the priest to encourage humility and as a way of showing that the individual has repented and is truly sorry for their sins.
Glossary Protection Protection is an aim of punishment. 1. Protect society from the criminal re-offending. 2. Protect the criminal from revenge attacks from the victim / victim’s family/friends. 3. Protect the criminal from harming themselves.
Glossary Punishment Punishment is an authority’s infliction of a penalty on an offender.” i.e. someone found to have broken a rule.
Glossary Reconciliation Reconciliation is the renewed state of harmony and agreement that now exists between the individual and God, the individual and the wider community, leading to a greater sense of peace and spiritual consolation.
Glossary Reform Reform aims to correct a criminal’s behaviour so that they are able to resume a life in the community as a responsible, law abiding citizen.
Glossary Repent Repentance is a sincere change of mind or attitude towards the action / sin that has been committed. Repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia: meta meaning change, noia meaning mind / attitude.
Glossary Retribution Retribution comes from the latin retribuere which means to pay back. It is a punishment which is normally proportionate to the offense committed. i.e. the punishment should fit the crime.
Glossary Sacramental Seal Sacramental Seal is when a priest is bound to absolute secrecy about the sins revealed to him in confession.
Glossary Vindication Vindication of the law means upholding and following the law because it is the law. If laws are not respected and followed then a democratic country would collapse into anarchy. Vindication offers a clear approach to moral decision making which overcomes the problem of people applying the law in a manner which best suits themselves. Vindication offers a universal and just law, laws that apply equally to everyone.
Genesis 9: 6 Exodus 20: 13 Exodus 21: 24 Matthew 5: Matthew 6: Matthew 6: Matthew 7: 1 Matthew 7: 12 Matthew 18: John 8: 7 Romans 13: 1-3 Revelation 20: Biblical Passages
Genesis 9: 6 “Whoever murders a human being will himself be killed by their fellow human beings; for human beings are created in the image of God.” Biblical Passages
Exodus 20: 13 “You shall not murder.” Biblical Passages Christians uphold the Sanctity of Human Life Principle as human beings are made in the image of God. Some Christians claim that Capital Punishment reduces the State to the level of a murderer.
Exodus 21: 24 “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Biblical Passages This phrase is often misunderstood! The quotation expresses the idea of proportionate justice - meaning that the punishment or response should fit the crime. This quotation was intended to set limits for a just response to crimes committed.
Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him your left.” Biblical Passages This passage shows that Jesus taught a personal ethic of love and forgiveness. Love goes beyond the law - it can be more demanding.
Matthew 6: The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven.... Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Biblical Passages In The Lord’s Prayer Jesus preached an ethic of God’s kingdom on earth. Just as God forgives people for their sins, so Christians should mirror God’s example in their lives and relationships with others by forgiving those who do wrong to them.
Matthew 6: “For as you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Biblical Passages
Matthew 7: 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged.” Biblical Passages Jesus encouraged people not to be too quick to make judgements about others. At times it is better to stand back and seek understanding behind people’s actions. However, Jesus was not saying that it is wrong for law courts and judges to apply the law!
Matthew 7: 12 “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Biblical Passages The philosopher Kant thought capital punishment was fair because, “The murderer brings his misdeed back upon himself, and what is done to him is what he has done on others.”
Matthew 18: ‘Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”’ Biblical Passages The Jewish law required a person to show forgiveness up to seven times. In his reply Jesus is explaining that love goes far beyond the expectations of the law. “Seventy-seven times” is a way of saying that one should always be prepared to forgive someone who shows repentance.
John 8: 7 “He who is without sin should throw the first stone.” Biblical Passages When a group of people were threatening to stone a woman to death for committing adultery (as the Jewish law permitted) Jesus stepped in and challenged people. Jesus’ ethic of love encourages an attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Romans 13: 1-3 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Biblical Passages Romans 13:1-3 is often used by Christians to support the teaching of vindication. St Paul believed that because governments are appointed by God their laws should be respected and followed.
Revelation 20: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” Biblical Passages The Book of Revelation states how people will be judged by God for how they have lived their life. This offers Christians hope in divine justice, to overcome injustices which happen on earth.
Happy Slapping Knife Crime Drunken Vandal Capital Punishment Nazi War Crimes Think! Case Studies
Case Studies: Nazi War Criminals Do you think that Nazi War criminals, who committed war crimes over 60 years ago, should be prosecuted today? Give reasons to support your judgement, applying the theories of punishment.
Imagine 2 teenagers (aged 14 and 17) ‘Happy Slapping’ a 41 year old man as he loads his car with shopping. Later the 41 year old man (married with 2 young children) dies from head injuries, incurred during the ‘Happy Slapping’. What type of punishment is appropriate for the 2 offenders? Case Study: Happy Slapping
Case Studies: Capital Punishment Do you think Capital Punishment should be re-introduced in the U.K. for serious crimes? Give reasons to support your judgement, applying the theories of punishment.
There is increasing alarm in the UK of the number of young people who carry knives. To carry a knife is a criminal offence. Do you agree that carrying a knife should be a criminal offence? What type of punishment is appropriate for someone who commits a crime, armed with a knife? Give reasons for your view. Case Study: Knife Crime
Imagine a middle aged, male tourist visiting an Oriental country. Following a drunken evening he vandalised a portrait of the revered King’s portrait. As a consequence the Western tourist is jailed for 10 years, as is the law of their land. Do you agree with the sentence of 10 years imprisonment? Give reasons to support your view. Case Study: Drunken Vandal
Crime and Punishment The worst day of my life. The day my soul died.
Crime and Punishment A quiet Saturday afternoon. We were all going to the shops for a drink. Then suddenly, from nowhere, a blue hooded youth wearing a baseball cap came running out from the News-agents at speed, with people shouting “Stop, thief!” Singer and I turned to give chase, then, in a split second the hoodie picked up a brick and threw it straight at us. I ducked, only to turn and see Roya fall, hit on the head by the brick. Time stopped. We all stopped. Our lives were never to be the same.
Crime and Punishment The doctors and nurses were fantastic. They did all they could. But the brick had caused a blood clot on Roya’s brain. Although she could breath normally she was unconscious and had to be fed through an intravenous drip. The doctor said Roya may never regain consciousness.
Crime and Punishment For the next couple of days I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I just kept seeing the hooded youth, the brick flying towards us; and Roya, lying on the ground, lifeless. Then it dawned on me.
Crime and Punishment Then it dawned on me. It might have been his height, his type of run, or was it the throw from his arm? Whatever it was, I knew with certainty who had thrown the brick. Thinking about it, how could I have not recognised who it was. And yet why did it have to be him?
Crime and Punishment Tom, my twin brother! He’s been really odd, very strange, withdrawn over the past 6 months. There’s been a coldness about him, a steeliness in his eyes that was never there before. We’d all put it down to dad being terminally ill with cancer and it being his way of coping with it all.
z Crime and Punishment You deserve the truth Greg; but you won’t like what you hear. Yes, it was me. I threw the brick. I never meant to hurt anyone, but I couldn’t take the risk of getting caught. I didn’t know it was you, all I saw was a group of people and a couple about to give chase. It’s not been easy, with dad being ill. I started taking drugs, and I can’t stop. Stealing from shops helps pay for the next fix.
z Crime and Punishment Look, it’s your call. No one else knows. I’m begging you, don’t tell anyone it was me. It’ll all blow over. Telling the police isn’t going to help anyone, and it won’t bring Roya back. What’s done is done. Help me get off the drugs, so that we can both move on together. I deeply regret what I did, but more than anything I need your help. Roya’s a Christian, don’t they believe in love and forgiveness? Isn’t that what she’d want? What should Greg do?
Crime and Punishment I didn’t know what to do. In the end I went and spoke with Rob. Rob said although Tom was right, Jesus does talk about love and forgiveness, God is also just and righteous. It’s important to uphold the law. With Roya still in a coma I had no choice but to inform the police and the case went to court.
Crime and Punishment Could you give evidence against your own twin brother? If you were Tom how would you feel?
Crime and Punishment Tom was found guilty of: (1) Theft (2) Manslaughter Tom has no previous convictions. If you were the judge what type of punishment would you give? Offer reasons for your judgement, considering possible implications.
The worst day of my life. The day my soul died.