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Defining Fair Essay

854 words - 4 pages

“The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

What is the purpose of punishment? Ultimately a fair and effective punishment must not only prevent future transgressions, but also teach a valuable life lesson. While some punishments may seem standard: a grounding for breaking curfew, a detention for misbehaving in class, a jail sentence for robbery, not all punishments are so cut and dry. Take the case of Casey Heynes. A video which has since gone viral depicts the March 2011 incident. Ritchard Gale, 12, appears to tease and taunt Casey, 15, and unleash a few unretaliated punches. In response, Casey picks Ritchard up, and slams him to ...view middle of the document...

Not only will a four day suspension deter Casey from using physical violence in the future, it will also require other students in the school to rethink retaliatory or aggressive actions. Any student who solves problems in this manner will be suspended. Because Casey’s superstar internet status could persuade others to follow suit, a strict enough school punishment is needed to deter any potential copycats. This punishment is the fairest, because it will successfully discourage repeat offenses.

A fair punishment not only acts as a deterrent, but also gives the opportunity for the offender to show remorse. This speaks to the deepest, most moral obligation of punishment: to fundamentally teach a lesson and suffer guilt for the wrong that has been done. Casey must participate in a bullying prevention program at school. This will force him to hear the stories of others in similar situations, including those who have been physically bullied, much in the manner that Casey assaulted Ritchard. In this way, Casey will better understand Ritchard’s point of the view and the serious physical harm he could no doubt have caused. Similarly, the anger management course will allow Casey to learn techniques to better manage his anger and open his eyes to just how physically aggressive and inappropriate he was. If Casey is able to think about the incident from another point of view, whether it is Ritchard’s, or other young students who are physically bullied, he will sincerely regret his actions that day.

Finally, this punishment is fair, as it takes both the wrongdoer...

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