Punishment: Forms and Functions

1335 words 6 pages
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
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However Rothman 1973 rejects the idea of rehabilitating offenders, he believes that due to the environment they’re in with officers holding huge amounts of power over them, they’re left with little free will and are forced into these programmes. However it’s often found that many offenders, especially women and ethnic minorities, take well the programmes having been discriminated against in education and in the work place so having had less opportunism before prison.
30 mins
When assessing the functions and forms of punishment one key aspect I think is important to take into consideration is the role of the crime itself and how that plays out in punishment. Imprisonment, can be a harsh environment, however can be an opportunity for offenders to reflect on the crime they’ve committed and who they’ve committed it against. Restorative justice also gives offender this opportunity to reflect on the harm they’ve caused through programmes such as victim offender medication, which studies show has a high satisfaction rate for those involved, high victim participant rates, meaning


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