Punishment: Forms and Functions

Topics: Prison, Crime, Capital punishment Pages: 2 (1349 words) Published: January 11, 2015
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 offences towards the public again. However it could be argued that prison is deemed an unsafe environment for the offender itself as an institution, for many it’s an environment where they have to adapt to survive, in which case becoming a breeding more criminals as a result of this or producing victims. Alternative punishment such as house arrest or probation would be more suitable in the face of the offender’s personal safety, whereby they are still paying for the crimes they have committed, with limitations on their freedom, however they are much safer. Statistics show that 50% of offenders that are released from prison are likely to reoffend within 3 years, which is the same rate as those who are given these alternative punishment. With 3% of the American population in prison and a large majority of those likely to reoffend within 3 year of release, they should be looking for alternative approaches to prison that takes into account the safety of the offender. However it could be argued that prison is there to be tough and that the people in there are criminals and should be treated as such. An alternative approach to prison that has be found to be particularly successful across America in reducing the number of young...
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