HOME

TheInfoList




Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or
unpleasant
unpleasant
outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
—in contexts ranging from
child discipline Child discipline is the methods used to prevent future behavioral problems in children. The word discipline is defined as imparting knowledge and skill, in other words, to teach. In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instructio ...
to
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
—as a response and deterrent to a particular action or
behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...
that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable. It is, however, possible to distinguish between various different understandings of what punishment is. The reasoning for punishment may be to condition a child to avoid self-endangerment, to impose social
conformity Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natura ...

conformity
(in particular, in the contexts of
compulsory education Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by the government. This education may take place at a registered school or Homeschooling, at other places. Compulsory school attendance or compuls ...
or
military discipline Military justice (or military law) is the body of laws and procedures governing members of the armed forces. Many nation-states have separate and distinct bodies of law that govern the conduct of members of their armed forces. Some states u ...
), to defend
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
, to protect against future harms (in particular, those from
violent crime A violent crime, violent felony, crime of violence or crime of a violent nature is a crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State ...
), and to maintain the
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
—and respect for
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
—under which the social group is governed. and violates the law or rules by which the group is governed. Punishment may be self-inflicted as with
self-flagellation Self-flagellation is the disciplinary and devotional practice of flogging oneself with whips or other instruments that inflict pain. In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based ...
and
mortification of the flesh Mortification of the flesh is an act by which an individual or group seeks to mortify, or put to death, their Christian views on sin, sinful nature, as a part of the process of sanctification. Mortificaton of the flesh is undertaken in order to re ...
in the religious setting, but is most often a form of social
coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. Intimidation is widely observed in animal behavior (particularly in a ritualiz ...
. The unpleasant imposition may include a
fine Fine may refer to: Characters * Sylvia Fine (''The Nanny''), Fran's mother on ''The Nanny'' * Fine/Officer Fine, character in Tales from the Crypt, played by Vincent Spano Vincent M. Spano (born October 18, 1962) is an American film, stage and ...
,
penalty Penalty or The Penalty may refer to: Sports * Penalty (golf) * Penalty (gridiron football) * Penalty (ice hockey) * Penalty (rugby) * Penalty (rugby union) * Penalty kick (association football) * Penalty shoot-out (association football) Entertain ...
, or confinement, or be the removal or denial of something pleasant or desirable. The individual may be a person, or even an animal. The authority may be either a group or a single person, and punishment may be carried out formally under a system of
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
or informally in other kinds of social settings such as within a family. Negative consequences that are not authorized or that are administered without a breach of rules are not considered to be punishment as defined here. The study and practice of the punishment of
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defi ...

crime
s, particularly as it applies to imprisonment, is called
penology Penology (from "penal", Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
, or, often in modern texts,
corrections In criminal justice 350px, United States criminal justice system flowchart. Criminal justice is the delivery of justice Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo o ...
; in this context, the punishment process is euphemistically called "correctional process". Research into punishment often includes similar research into prevention. Justifications for punishment include
retribution Retribution may refer to: * Punishment * Retributive justice, a theory of justice ** Divine retribution, retributive justice in a religious context * Revenge, a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance Film and televisi ...
, deterrence,
rehabilitation Rehabilitation or Rehab may refer to: Health * Rehabilitation (neuropsychology), therapy to regain or improve neurocognitive function that has been lost or diminished * Rehabilitation (wildlife), treatment of injured wildlife so they can be returne ...
, and incapacitation. The last could include such measures as isolation, in order to prevent the wrongdoer's having contact with potential victims, or the removal of a hand in order to make theft more difficult. If only some of the conditions included in the definition of punishment are present, descriptions other than "punishment" may be considered more accurate. Inflicting something negative, or unpleasant, on a person or animal, without authority is considered
revenge Revenge is committing a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance A grievance () is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint. In the past, the word meant the infl ...

revenge
or spite rather than punishment. In addition, the word "punishment" is used as a metaphor, as when a boxer experiences "''punishment''" during a fight. In other situations, breaking a rule may be rewarded, and so receiving such a reward naturally does not constitute punishment. Finally the condition of breaking (or breaching) the rules must be satisfied for consequences to be considered punishment. Punishments differ in their degree of severity, and may include sanctions such as reprimands, deprivations of privileges or
liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change withou ...

liberty
, fines,
incarceration Imprisonment (from , via French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily lo ...
s,
ostracism Ostracism ( el, ὀστρακισμός, ''ostrakismos'') was an Athenian democratic procedure in which any citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitl ...
, the infliction of
pain Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The International Association for the Study of Pain The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is an international learned society A learned societ ...
,
amputation Amputation is the removal of a limb Limb can refer to: *Limb (anatomy), an appendage of a human or animal *Limb Music, a record label *Limb (album), an album by Foetus *Limb, in astronomy, the curved edge of the apparent disk of a celestial body, ...

amputation
and the
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

death penalty
. ''
Corporal punishment A corporal punishment or a physical punishment is a punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person. When it is inflicted on Minor (law), minors, especially in home and school settings, its methods may include spanking or Padd ...
'' refers to punishments in which physical pain is intended to be inflicted upon the transgressor. Punishments may be judged as fair or unfair in terms of their degree of
reciprocity Reciprocity may refer to: Law and trade * Reciprocity (Canadian politics), free trade with the United States of America ** Reciprocal trade agreement, entered into in order to reduce (or eliminate) tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on ...
and proportionality to the offense. Punishment can be an integral part of socialization, and punishing unwanted behavior is often part of a system of
pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning Learning is the process of acquiring new , , s, s, , attitudes, and s. The ability to learn is possessed by s, s, and some ; there is ...
or behavioral modification which also includes rewards.


Definitions

There are a large number of different understandings of what punishment is. Punishment is when something is done to a person (or animal) that they do not like. It may be because they broke a rule. There are many kinds of punishment, from a death penalty for horrible crimes, to things that parents may do to punish children, like spanking them or taking away their toys. People are often sent to prison as punishment for a crime. Punishment can be seen as good in society to prevent people from doing bad things. It can also seen as cruel and unnecessary. It can also be seen to do more harm than good. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment


In philosophy

Various philosophers have presented definitions of punishment. Conditions commonly considered necessary properly to describe an action as punishment are that # it is imposed by an authority (single or multiple), # it involves some loss to the supposed offender, # it is in response to an offense and # the human (or other animal) to whom the loss is imposed should be deemed at least somewhat responsible for the offense.


In psychology

Introduced by
B.F. Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and Social philosophy, social philosopher. He was a professor of psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retir ...

B.F. Skinner
, punishment has a more restrictive and technical definition. Along with
reinforcement In behavioral psychology Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that behavior is either a reflex evoked by the pairing of certain antecedent (behavioral psychology), antecede ...

reinforcement
it belongs under the
operant conditioning Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning) is a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such lea ...
category. Operant conditioning refers to learning with either punishment (often confused as negative reinforcement) or a reward that serves as a positive reinforcement of the lesson to be learned. In psychology, punishment is the reduction of a behavior via application of an unpleasant stimulus ("''positive'' punishment") or removal of a pleasant stimulus ("''negative'' punishment"). Extra chores or
spanking Spanking is a common form of corporal punishment involving the act of striking, with either the palm of the hand or an implement, the buttocks of a person to cause them physical pain. Although the term spanking broadly encompasses the use of ei ...

spanking
are examples of positive punishment, while removing an offending student's recess or play privileges are examples of negative punishment. The definition requires that punishment is only determined after the fact by the reduction in behavior; if the offending behavior of the subject does not decrease, it is not considered punishment. There is some
conflation Flag of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a heraldic emblem which displays conflated or "con-joined" images. Conflation is the merging of two or more sets of information, texts, ideas, opinions, etc., into one, often in error. In logic, it ...
of punishment and
aversives In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scop ...
, though an aversion that does not decrease behavior is not considered punishment in psychology. Additionally, "aversive stimulus" is a label behaviorists generally apply to negative reinforcers (as in avoidance learning), rather than punishers.


In socio-biology

Punishment is sometimes called '''' or '' moralistic aggression''; it has been observed in all species of
social animal Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consum ...
s, leading evolutionary biologists to conclude that it is an evolutionarily stable strategy, selected because it favors .


Examples against sociobiological use

One criticism of the claim of all social animals being evolutionarily hardwired for punishment comes from studies of animals, such as the
octopus An octopus (pl. octopuses/octopi, see below for variants) is a soft-bodied, eight- limbed mollusc Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropoda. The members are known as molluscs or mollusks (). A ...

octopus
es near
Capri Capri ( , ; ; ) is an island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrento Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The main town Capri (town), Capri that is located on the island shares the name. It ...

Capri
, Italy that suddenly formed communal cultures from having, until then lived solitary lives. During a period of heavy fishing and tourism that encroached on their territory, they started to live in groups, learning from each other, especially hunting techniques. Small, younger octopuses could be near the fully grown octopuses without being eaten by them, even though they, like other ''
Octopus vulgaris The common octopus (''Octopus vulgaris'') is a Mollusca, mollusc belonging to the class Cephalopoda. ''Octopus vulgaris'' is the most studied of all octopus species. It is considered Cosmopolitan distribution, cosmopolitan, that is, a global spec ...

Octopus vulgaris
'', were
cannibals Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food. Cannibalism is a common ecological interaction in the animal kingdom and has been recorded in more than 1,500 species In biology, a species is the basic ...

cannibals
until just before the group formation. The authors stress that this behavior change happened too fast to be a genetic characteristic in the octopuses, and that there were certainly no mammals or other "naturally" social animals punishing octopuses for cannibalism involved. The authors also note that the octopuses adopted
observational learning Observational learning is learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others. It is a form of social learning which takes various forms, based on various processes. In humans, this form of learning seems to not need reinforcement to o ...
without any
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary history of specialized adaptation for it. There are also arguments against the notion of punishment requiring intelligence, based on studies of punishment in very small-brained animals such as
insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

insect
s. There is proof of
honey bee A honey bee (also spelled honeybee) is a eusocial flying insect within the genus ''Apis'' of the bee clade, all native to Eurasia. They are known for their construction of wiktionary:perennial, perennial Colony (biology), colonial nests from B ...

honey bee
workers with mutations that makes them fertile laying eggs only when other honey bees are not observing them, and that the few that are caught in the act are killed. This is corroborated by
computer simulation Computer simulation is the process of mathematical modelling, performed on a computer, which is designed to predict the behaviour of, or the outcome of, a real-world or physical system. The reliability of some mathematical models can be determ ...
s proving that a few simple reactions well within mainstream views of the extremely limited intelligence of insects are sufficient to emulate the "political" behavior observed in
great ape The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic Family (biology), family of primates that includes eight Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species in four Genus, genera: ''Orangutan, Pongo ...
s. The authors argue that this falsifies the claim that punishment evolved as a strategy to deal with individuals capable of knowing what they are doing. In the case of more complex brains, the notion of evolution selecting for specific punishment of intentionally chosen breaches of rules and/or wrongdoers capable of intentional choices (for example, punishing
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
s for murder while not punishing lethal
virus A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

virus
es) is subject to criticism from
coevolution In biology, coevolution occurs when two or more species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined ...
issues. That punishment of individuals with certain characteristics (including but, in principle, not restricted to mental abilities) selects against those characteristics, making evolution of any mental abilities considered to be the basis for penal responsibility impossible in populations subject to such selective punishment. Certain scientists argue that this disproves the notion of humans having a biological feeling of intentional transgressions deserving to be punished.


Scope of application

Punishments are applied for various purposes, most generally, to encourage and enforce proper behavior as defined by society or family.
Criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

Criminal
s are punished judicially, by fines,
corporal punishment A corporal punishment or a physical punishment is a punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person. When it is inflicted on Minor (law), minors, especially in home and school settings, its methods may include spanking or Padd ...
or
custodial sentence A custodial sentence is a judicial sentence, imposing a punishment consisting of mandatory custody of the convict, either in prison or in some other closed therapeutic or educational institution, such as a reformatory, (maximum security) psychiatr ...
s such as
prison A prison, also known as a jail or gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention ...

prison
; detainees risk further punishments for breaches of internal rules.
Child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of childbirth, birth and puberty, or between the Development of the human body, developmental period of infancy and puberty. The legal definition of ''child'' generall ...

Child
ren, pupils and other trainees may be punished by their educators or instructors (mainly
parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A ''biological parent'' is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male ...

parent
s, guardians, or
teacher A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps student A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and le ...

teacher
s, tutors and
coaches Coach may refer to: Guidance/instruction * Coach (sport), a director of athletes' training and activities ** Coach (basketball) * Coaching, the practice of guiding an individual through a process ** Acting coach, a teacher who trains performers T ...
) – see
Child discipline Child discipline is the methods used to prevent future behavioral problems in children. The word discipline is defined as imparting knowledge and skill, in other words, to teach. In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instructio ...
.
Slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
, domestic and other servants are subject to punishment by their
masters Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, I ...
. Employees can still be subject to a contractual form of fine or
demotion A demotion is a compulsory reduction in an employee Employment is a relationship between two party (law), parties, usually based on employment contract, contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, no ...
. Most hierarchical organizations, such as military and police forces, or even churches, still apply quite rigid internal discipline, even with a judicial system of their own (
court martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority ...
, canonical courts). Punishment may also be applied on moral, especially religious, grounds, as in
penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt) is ...
(which is voluntary) or imposed in a
theocracy Theocracy is a form of government in which one or more deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-phys ...

theocracy
with a religious police (as in a strict
Islamic state , caption = , active = {{Collapsible list , title = 1999–present , 1 = 1999: Established under the name of Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad , 2 = October 2004: Joined al-Qaeda , 3 = 13 October 2006: Declaration of an Islamic ...
like
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
or under the
Taliban The Taliban (; ps, طالبان, ṭālibān, lit=students or 'seekers'), which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Taliban Islamic Movement and/or Islamic Movement of Taliban is a Deobandi Deobandi ( hi, देव ...

Taliban
) or (though not a true theocracy) by
Inquisition The Inquisition, in historical ecclesiastical terminology also referred to as the "Holy Inquisition", was a group of institutions within the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1. ...

Inquisition
.


Hell as punishment

Belief that an individual's ultimate punishment is being sent by God, the highest authority, to an existence in Hell, a place believed to exist in the after-life, typically corresponds to
sin In a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecies, ...

sin
s committed during their life. Sometimes these distinctions are specific, with suffering for each sin committed (see for example Plato's
myth of Er The Myth of Er is a legend that concludes Plato's ''The Republic (Plato), Republic'' (10.614–10.621). The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that greatly influenced religious, philosophical, and scientific thought for many c ...
or Dante's ''
The Divine Comedy The ''Divine Comedy'' ( it, Divina Commedia ) is an Italian narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetics, aes ...

The Divine Comedy
''), but sometimes they are general, with condemned sinners relegated to one or more chamber of Hell or to a level of suffering. In many religious cultures, including Christianity and Islam, Hell is traditionally depicted as fiery and painful, inflicting guilt and suffering. Despite these common depictions of Hell as a place of fire, some other traditions portray Hell as cold. Buddhist – and particularly Tibetan Buddhist – descriptions of hell feature an equal number of hot and cold hells. Among Christian descriptions
Dante Dante Alighieri (), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to Mononymous person, simply as Dante (, also ; – 14 September 1321), was an Italian Italian poetry, poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Co ...

Dante
's ''
Inferno Inferno may refer to: * Hell, an afterlife place of suffering * Conflagration, a large uncontrolled fire Film * ''L'Inferno'', a 1911 Italian film * Inferno (1953 film), ''Inferno'' (1953 film), a film noir by Roy Ward Baker * Inferno (1973 fi ...
'' portrays the innermost (9th) circle of Hell as a frozen lake of blood and guilt. But cold also played a part in earlier Christian depictions of hell, beginning with the Apocalypse of Paul, originally from the early third century; the "
Vision of Dryhthelm Dryhthelm (fl. c. 700), also known as Drithelm or Drythelm, was a monk associated with the monastery of Melrose known from the ''Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesias ...
" by the Venerable
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sa ...

Bede
from the seventh century; " St Patrick's Purgatory", "The Vision of Tundale" or " Visio Tnugdali", and the "Vision of the Monk of Enysham", all from the twelfth century; and the "Vision of Thurkill" from the early thirteenth century.


History and rationale


Seriousness of a crime; Punishment fits the crime

A principle often mentioned with respect to the degree of punishment to be meted out is that the punishment should match the crime. One standard for measurement is the degree to which a crime affects others or society. Measurements of the degree of seriousness of a crime have been developed. A
felony A felony is traditionally considered a crime of high seriousness Seriousness (noun; adjective: ''serious'') is an attitude of gravitas, gravity, :wikt:solemnity, solemnity, persistence, and :wikt:earnest, earnestness toward something considered t ...
is generally considered to be a crime of "high
seriousness Seriousness (noun; adjective: ''serious'') is an attitude of gravitas, gravity, :wikt:solemnity, solemnity, persistence, and :wikt:earnest, earnestness toward something considered to be of importance. Some notable philosophers and commentators have ...
", while a
misdemeanor A misdemeanor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States ...
is not.


Possible reasons for punishment

There are many possible reasons that might be given to justify or explain why someone ought to be punished; here follows a broad outline of typical, possibly conflicting, justifications.


Deterrence (prevention)

Two reasons given to justify punishment is that it is a measure to prevent people from committing an offence - deterring previous offenders from re-offending, and preventing those who may be contemplating an offence they have not committed from actually committing it. This punishment is intended to be sufficient that people would choose not to commit the crime rather than experience the punishment. The aim is to deter everyone in the community from committing offences. Some criminologists state that the number of people convicted for crime does not decrease as a result of more severe punishment and conclude that deterrence is ineffective. Other criminologists object to said conclusion, citing that while most people do not know the exact severity of punishment such as whether the sentence for murder is 40 years or life, most people still know the rough outlines such as the punishments for armed robbery or forcible rape being more severe than the punishments for driving too fast or misparking a car. These criminologists therefore argue that lack of deterring effect of increasing the sentences for already severely punished crimes say nothing about the significance of the existence of punishment as a deterring factor. Some criminologists argue that increasing the sentences for crimes can cause criminal investigators to give higher priority to said crimes so that a higher percentage of those committing them are convicted for them, causing statistics to give a false appearance of such crimes increasing. These criminologists argue that the use of statistics to gauge the efficiency of crime fighting methods are a danger of creating a reward hack that makes the least efficient criminal justice systems appear to be best at fighting crime, and that the appearance of deterrence being ineffective may be an example of this.


Rehabilitation

Some punishment includes work to reform and rehabilitate the culprit so that they will not commit the offence again. This is distinguished from deterrence, in that the goal here is to change the offender's attitude to what they have done, and make them come to see that their behavior was wrong.


Incapacitation and societal protection

Incapacitation as a justification of punishment refers to the offender's ability to commit further offences being removed. Imprisonment separates offenders from the community, for example, Australia was a dumping ground for early British criminals. This was their way of removing or reducing the offenders ability to carry out certain crimes. The death penalty does this in a permanent (and irrevocable) way. In some societies, people who stole have been punished by having their hands amputated.


Retribution

Criminal activities typically give a benefit to the offender and a loss to the victim. Punishment has been justified as a measure of
retributive justice Retributive justice is a theory of punishment that when an offender breaks the law, justice requires that they suffer in return, and that the response to a crime is proportional to the offence. As opposed to revenge, retribution—and thus retr ...
, in which the goal is to try to rebalance any unjust advantage gained by ensuring that the offender also suffers a loss. Sometimes viewed as a way of "getting even" with a wrongdoer—the suffering of the wrongdoer is seen as a desired goal in itself, even if it has no restorative benefits for the victim. One reason
societies A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, political authority ...

societies
have administered punishments is to diminish the perceived need for retaliatory "street justice",
blood feud A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, clan war, gang war, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight, often between social group In the social science Social science is the branch Th ...
, and
vigilantism Vigilantism is the act of enforcement, investigation or punishment of perceived offenses without legal authority. A vigilante (from Spanish and Italian ''vigilante'') is practitioner of vigilantism. History Vigilantism and the vigilante ethos ...
.


Restoration

For minor offenses, punishment may take the form of the offender "righting the wrong", or making restitution to the victim.
Community service Community service is unpaid work performed by a person or group of people for the benefit and betterment of their community without any form of compensation. Community service can be distinct from volunteering, since it is not always performed ...

Community service
or compensation orders are examples of this sort of penalty. In models of
restorative justice Restorative justice is an approach to justice in which one of the responses to a crime is to organize a meeting between the victim and the offender, sometimes with representatives of the wider community. The goal is for them to share their expe ...
, victims take an ''active'' role in a process with their offenders who are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, "to repair the harm they've done – by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service." The restorative justice approach aims to help the offender want to avoid future offences.


Education and denunciation

Punishment can be explained by positive prevention theory to use the criminal justice system to teach people what are the social norms for what is correct, and acts as a reinforcement. Punishment can serve as a means for society to publicly express denunciation of an action as being criminal. Besides educating people regarding what is not acceptable behavior, it serves the dual function of preventing vigilante justice by acknowledging public anger, while concurrently deterring future criminal activity by stigmatizing the offender. This is sometimes called the "Expressive Theory" of denunciation. The
pillory The pillory is a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a ...

pillory
was a method for carrying out public denunciation. Some critics of the education and denunciation model cite
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary problems with the notion that a feeling for punishment as a social signal system evolved if punishment was not effective. The critics argue that some individuals spending time and energy and taking risks in punishing others, and the possible loss of the punished group members, would have been selected against if punishment served no function other than signals that could evolve to work by less risky means.


Unified theory

A unified theory of punishment brings together multiple penal purposes—such as retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation—in a single, coherent framework. Instead of punishment requiring we choose between them, unified theorists argue that they work together as part of some wider goal such as the protection of rights.


Criticism

Some people think that punishment as a whole is unhelpful and even harmful to the people that it is used against. Detractors argue that punishment is simply wrong, of the same design as " two wrongs make a right". Critics argue that punishment is simply
revenge Revenge is committing a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance A grievance () is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint. In the past, the word meant the infl ...

revenge
. Professor Deirdre Golash, author of ''The Case against Punishment: Retribution, Crime Prevention, and the Law'', says: {{quote, We ought not to impose such harm on anyone unless we have a very good reason for doing so. This remark may seem trivially true, but the history of humankind is littered with examples of the deliberate infliction of harm by well-intentioned persons in the vain pursuit of ends which that harm did not further, or in the successful pursuit of questionable ends. These benefactors of humanity sacrificed their fellows to appease mythical gods and tortured them to save their souls from a mythical hell, broke and bound the feet of children to promote their eventual marriageability, beat slow schoolchildren to promote learning and respect for teachers, subjected the sick to leeches to rid them of excess blood, and put suspects to the rack and the thumbscrew in the service of truth. They schooled themselves to feel no pity—to renounce human compassion in the service of a higher end. The deliberate doing of harm in the mistaken belief that it promotes some greater good is the essence of tragedy. We would do well to ask whether the goods we seek in harming offenders are worthwhile, and whether the means we choose will indeed secure them.{{Cite web , url=https://www.questia.com/read/117883311/the-case-against-punishment-retribution-crime-prevention , title = The Case against Punishment: Retribution, Crime Prevention, and the Law - 2004, Page III by Deirdre Golash. {{dl, date=July 2021 Golash also writes about
imprisonment Imprisonment (from , via French language, French , originally from atin, arrest, from , , "to seize") in law is the specific state of being physically incarcerated or confined in an institutional setting such as a prison. When it comes to iss ...
: {{quote, Imprisonment means, at minimum, the loss of liberty and autonomy, as well as many material comforts, personal security, and access to heterosexual relations. These deprivations, according to Gresham Sykes (who first identified them) “together dealt 'a profound hurt' that went to 'the very foundations of the prisoner's being. But these are only the minimum harms, suffered by the least vulnerable inmates in the best-run prisons. Most prisons are run badly, and in some, conditions are more squalid than in the worst of slums. In the District of Columbia jail, for example, inmates must wash their clothes and sheets in cell toilets because the laundry machines are broken. Vermin and insects infest the building, in which air vents are clogged with decades' accumulation of dust and grime. But even inmates in prisons where conditions are sanitary must still face the numbing boredom and emptiness of prison life—a vast desert of wasted days in which little in the way of meaningful activity is possible.


Destructiveness to thinking and betterment

There are critics of punishment who argue that punishment aimed at intentional actions forces people to suppress their ability to act on intent. Advocates of this viewpoint argue that such suppression of intention causes the harmful behaviors to remain, making punishment counterproductive. These people suggest that the ability to make intentional choices should instead be treasured as a source of possibilities of betterment, citing that complex cognition would have been an evolutionarily useless waste of energy if it led to justifications of fixed actions and no change as simple inability to understand arguments would have been the most thrifty protection from being misled by them if arguments were for social manipulation, and reject condemnation of people who intentionally did bad things. Punishment can be effective in stopping undesirable employee behaviors such as tardiness, absenteeism or substandard work performance. However, punishment does not necessarily cause an employee to demonstrate a desirable behavior.{{Cite web, url=https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/stories/1996/11/18/focus3.html, title=Punishment in the workplace creates undesirable side effects, last=Milbourn Jr, first=Gene, date=November 1996, access-date=November 21, 2018


See also

{{columns-list, colwidth=30em, *
Capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

Capital punishment
**
Capital and corporal punishment in Judaism Capital punishment in traditional Jewish law has been defined in Codes of Jewish law dating back to medieval times, based on a system of Torah she-be'al-peh, oral laws contained in the Babylonian Talmud, Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, the prim ...
**
List of capital crimes in the Torah According to the Torah or Law of Moses, these are some of the offenses which may merit the death penalty. Religious practices * Sacrificing to gods other than YHWH * ''Passing children through the fire to/as LK'. The triconsonantal root '' ...
**
List of methods of capital punishment This is a list of methods of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone is ...
**
List of people burned as heretics This is a list of people burned after being deemed heretics Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term ...
** List of people executed for witchcraft **
Religion and capital punishment The major world religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religio ...
*
Coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. IntimidationIntimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that " ...
*
Corporal punishment A corporal punishment or a physical punishment is a punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person. When it is inflicted on Minor (law), minors, especially in home and school settings, its methods may include spanking or Padd ...
*
Devaluation In macroeconomics Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production ( ...
* Discipline (BDSM) * Hudud * Intimidation * ''Nulla poena sine lege'' * Preventive state * Suffering * Telishment


Citations

{{Reflist


References

* {{cite EB1911 , wstitle=Punishment , volume=22 , page=653 , short=1
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Punishment

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Legal Punishment

Etymology Online
* {{cite book , author=Brooks, Thom , title=Punishment , publisher=Routledge , location=New York , year=2012 , isbn=978-0-415-85051-3 * {{cite journal , last1 = Gade , first1 = Christian , year = 2020 , title = Is restorative justice punishment? , journal = Conflict Resolution Quarterly , volume = 38 , issue = 3 , pages = 127–155 , doi = 10.1002/crq.21293 , doi-access = free * {{cite book , author=Zaibert, Leo , title=Punishment and retribution , publisher=Ashgate , location=Hants, England , year=2006 , isbn=978-0-7546-2389-2 * {{cite journal , last1 = Lippke , first1 = Richard , year = 2001 , title = Criminal Offenders and Right Forfeiture , journal = Journal of Social Philosophy , volume = 32 , issue = 1, pages = 78–89 , doi = 10.1111/0047-2786.00080


External links

{{wikiquote {{Wiktionary * {{cite IEP , url-id=punishme , title=Punishment * {{cite IEP , url-id=m-p-puni , title=The Moral Permissibility of Punishment {{Authority control Punishment, Punishments, Social philosophy Criminal justice