The Morality Of Punishment Analysis

1341 Words 6 Pages
The use of punishment is highly debated topic for many, as both sides of the spectrum are at odds. Therefore, the purpose of this journal is to divulge into the concept of punishment, and to determine if its use is valid. In order to accomplish the task at hand; I shall, firstly, define punishment and its goal, secondly, describe some arguments for punishment and determine their validity, and lastly, mention my own experience with punishment. In the end, it will be clear that the use of punishment serves a minimal purpose, and does not help in ensuring that its main goal of correcting behaviour is achieved. Punishment can be defined to be “deliberate infliction of pain on a person for the sake of attaining revenge” (Elliot, 2011, pg. 39). …show more content…
pg. 39), then I believe punishment is immoral; yet there are moral arguments for punishment. One moral argument for punishment is that it teaches morality through the use of: “autonomy, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, modelling and reasoning” (Elliott, 2011, pg. 29). Autonomy refers to the need to be one’s self, while intrinsic motivation states “that people will act in certain ways without the reinforcements of punishments and rewards” and extrinsic motivation is behaviour reinforcement; in addition, reasoning and modelling allow for independency to garner morality (Elliott, 2011, pg. 29-34). Nevertheless, these arguments are invalid, as the criminal justice system does not abide to them. For instance, personal autonomy is unethically not respected through coercive punishment in which the criminal justice system deprives people of their liberty (Elliott, 2011, pg. 30-32; Gilligan, 2000, pg. 755). Likewise, while intrinsic motivation can sustain desirable behaviour, the criminal justice choses to fluctuate upon the principle of extrinsic motivation through rewards and punishments to further exacerbate anti-social behaviour (Elliott, 2011, pg. 32-33). Moreover, punishment through reasoning and modelling “teaches that when you are bigger or stronger than someone else, you can use that advantage to force the person to do what you want” (Kohn, 1999: 167 in Elliot, 2011, pg. 34-35), a belief strongly …show more content…
759), should it not be abolished? In class, we did an activity known as the “Violence Iceberg”, and I believe that it provides a complete answer to this question. The Violence Iceberg revealed that one of the major factors that lead violence to come into fruition is revenge. Revenge is so strongly engraved in our culture that we cannot see a way around it. Most individuals cannot allow someone to harm them or someone they love without any consequences. Clearly, this will not take the harm back, nor will it provide any sort of fulfillment, but these states of harm tend to be accompanied by intense feelings of rage and anger; in turn, making retaliation the easiest and thought to be the most likely to bring gratification to the person. Yet, then again we should ask ourselves about the harm we just have caused are harmer and perhaps someone they love because it was likely not that different from the harm we felt when we or someone we loved was harmed. Instead we create vicious, never-ending cycle of violence (Piaget, 1932 in Gilligan, 2000, pg. 746).
In conclusion, punishment is to inflict to pain without achieving much. The presumed outcome of punishment for many is that it will bring a behaviour correction, but that is simply not true; rather, it has been shown to worsen behaviour; hence, the use of punishment in the criminal justice system should be questioned. Individuals who have already

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