Punishment: The True Story Essay

1592 words - 6 pages

Punishment has been around for ages. From century to century the thoughts of punishment have changed for good and bad, but the focus of punishment has not changed. With two sides to the story one being to reform or rehabilitate and the other to be punitive and ask for a penalty in return for the wrong doing done. It is hard not to see that there is plenty of controversy revolving around the subject, punishment has with stood the test of time and with good reason. Some would say the need for punishment is obvious, but others believe it has been taken too far. I say, the glue that holds society in order is punishment. Without our government’s systematic penal code to enforce the social norms that are set in place, our neighborhoods might not be as safe. The issue with this type of mentality though, is deciding how far is too far, and how to judge properly.
The story of punishment is a sad and troubling one. From birth, philosophically speaking it was doom with a father by the name of Retribution. “On our standard theory of retribution, then, punishment is inflicted in order to make the punisher pay for his offense” (Cottingham pg.1). Also, a mother by the name of Punitive. The word or concept of punishment has root word meanings derived from punitive, “< post-classical Latin punitivus inflicting or involving punishment (13th cent. in British and continental sources) < classical Latin pūnīt-, past participial stem of pūnīrepunish v.+ -īvus-ive suffix. Compare Middle French, French punitif(c1370 in Middle French in sense ‘(of a person) inclined to punish’, late 18th cent. in sense 1), Spanish punitivo(early 16th cent.), Portuguese punitivo(1569), Italian punitivo(a1406)” (OED.com). Cause and effect, every action has a reaction and the reaction to committing a crime would be paying a penalty. The need to prevent people from committing an offense against one another or society would be the main intended usage of punishment. As is shown on wordlingo.com some people believe that the Latin word punire "inflict a penalty on, cause pain for some offense", was inspired by one of the earliest forms of punishment crucifixion, in which a person would be nailed by hands and feet to a cross and left to die for an offense committed. Some of the thought to be human natural ideas of punishing someone would be the theory of an eye for an eye. Before the 18th century and the humanitarian mentality which were preaching reform and dignity came into the picture most punishments were blood bonds such as hangings, beheading, mutilation, public humiliation and the one we as a society rarely seen now, the banishment of the person from a certain town or province. Some would call it getting softer but in reality the interpretation of punishment that we have developed throughout time can only be described as social evolution to accommodate with the knowledge of humanity and criminology that we now seem to hold. We now have a little better sense then to be lynching people for...

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