Category: Morality and Justice

Moral Debate of Punishment

Moral Debate of Punishment

Aims of Punishment

Punishment: something done to a person because they have broken a law

Protection: keeping the public from being harmed, threatened or injured by criminals

Retribution: an aim of punishment – to get your own back: ‘an eye for an eye’

Deterrence: an aim of punishment – to put people off committing crimes

Reform: an aim of punishment – to change someone’s behaviour for the better

Vindication: an aim or punishment that means offenders must be punished to show that the law must be respected and is right

Reparation: an aim of punishment designed to help an offender to put something back into society

This is a great website for revision on Purposes of Punishment.

Moral Debate of Punishment

Everyone has their own idea of why criminals should be punished. Some say it should be to protect the rest of society, some say to make an example of the criminal, some say it should be to help the criminal change their ways, some say its revenge.

When punishing someone there are moral debates raised about whether we should take into account the criminals personal circumstances, history, criminal record, family situation. Others say this is irrelevant all criminals should be treated the same.

People will look to religious teachings and texts for guidance on how they should respond to punishment, others may think from their own perspective, some may use a non-religious way of thinking such as Utilitarianism and Humanism.

There is a good summary of the arguments for and against Capital Punishment here.

Retribution

“An Eye for an Eye, A Tooth for a Tooth… A Life for a Life”

This quote is often used as religious justification of retribution, in the Bible, Qu’ran and Torah there is similar teachings, that criminals should get a punishment fitting of their crime. In the UK, retribution can be found in Community Service, Fines and outside the UK – Capital Punishment is a form of retribution.

Some argue that this is not a positive response to punishment and should not be the main aim of punishment.

Although others argue that it shows criminals that crimes will not be tolerated.

Forgiveness

Many believe that it is important to forgive, and they believe that punishment should be an opportunity for criminals to show remorse and forgiveness should be given. This is key in many religions such as Christianity. Jesus taught it was important to forgive.

This is how many people would approach punishment.

Essay Questions on Purposes Punishment

If you are asked about the Moral debate surrounding the purposes punishment in an exam you can approach this question in many ways. You can look at the different purposes of punishment, the arguments for and against each punishment and why people may debate on whether it is an appropriate aim. You could also look at religious and non- religious perspectives on punishment. Why do religious people hold views on punishment, what influences them.

Read how to write an essay question here. 

 

 

 

How do Non- Religious people make decisions?

How do Non- Religious people make decisions?

There is no one singular answer to this question. People make decisions in a variety of different ways, people may not even know the process that they go through to make decisions. Some religious people may look to their own holy books or teachings for guidance. But what about non religious people? Where do they go for guidance?

Humanism

This is a non religious group of people, who do not believe in any god, life after death or religion. They believe life is to be lived and there is no further purpose. This website here explains a little more about their beliefs and how they come to making decisions. http://understandinghumanism.org.uk/uhtheme/ethics/?age=14

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Utilitarianism

Utilitarian is a way of thinking based on doing the best to make the most people happy. There are different types of Utilitarians and this video explains how Utilitarians make decisions.

 

If in an exam you are asked about how non- religious people make decisions. These are two examples you can use.

Death Penalty Articles

Death Penalty Articles

I am putting together a series of Blog Posts with relevant articles that will help you with assignment and AVU research. These will help ensure you have reliable sources and not relying on Wikipedia.  These will be updated as new articles are found.

BBC Ethics – Capital Punishment 

Great for all round Information on Capital Punishment and arguments for an against.

Amnesty International

They are against the Death Penalty as they believe it is a breach of Human Rights. Be careful for Bias.

Interview with someone who was on Death Row

This will provide a first hand account of the death penalty.

Life and Death Row- BBC Iplayer

A Series from the BBC about inmates, victims, families and how they are affected by the Death Penalty in the USA.

The Man who witnessed 219 Executions – BBC Iplayer

An interview with an executioner.

Humanism thoughts on Crime and Punishment

This is a fact sheet produced by Humanists explaining their ideas about Crime and Punishment.

Opinion in the USA about the Death Penalty

This article from TIME magazine explains different ideas about death penalty in the USA.

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Recent Reforms in the USA

Recent Reforms in the USA

Alongside Donald Trump being voted in to the US Presidency last week there were many other votes taking place across America that cover a number of Moral Issues including The Death Penalty, Abortion, Global Warming, Minimum Wage, Health Care, Gun Laws, Homelessness, Charity, Aid, Contraception, Animal Hunting, Euthanasia, Marijuana and Religious Schools.

Many topics that are often covered in assignments.

Read about the results here.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/08/state-ballot-initiative-election-results-live-marijuana-death-penalty-healthcare

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/california-death-penalty-vote-us-election-abolish-capital-punishment-proposition-62-a7404456.html

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/oct/15/us-election-ballots-listed