Essay on A Society Without Punishment

796 Words Oct 7th, 2015 4 Pages
I would write a story about a society without punishment. The narrator would find himself in an alternate world in which punitive measures are not used to respond to deviant and criminal activities. In fact, in this imaginary world, punitive responses would not even be considered as a response to social problems. Prisons, for example, would not exist in this society, and neither would criminal courts, detention centers, or any instantiation of a retributive model of justice. The absence of punishment in the story would not be similar to contemporary oppositions to private prisons, imprisonment of nonviolent offenders, or racially disparate imprisonment. Those objections take issue with the form or distribution of punishment and prisons rather than the concept of punishment itself.

Although theories of punishment might not seem to be scientific, they draw on assumptions about psychology and behavioral science. Criminology and penology, too, are important social scientific fields. More broadly, that punishment does not present itself as scientific does not prove it is immune to paradigm shifts! The basic assumptions of scientific theories can sometimes be immune to rational argument because scientific paradigms can differ in their vocabularies, standards, and identification of problems to be solved. Because paradigms can be incommensurable with competing paradigms, factually disproving the desirability of punitive responses to deviancy might be as impossible as…

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