Should Punishment Be Retributive Or Reformatory? You can find Previous Year Argumentative Essay Topics asked in ICSE board exams.
Argumentative Essay Topic – Should Punishment Be Retributive Or Reformatory?
What is ‘retributive punishment’?
- The state took upon itself the role of policing the society.
- Humantarians advocated for reformatory form of punishment which lays stress on reforming the person.
- The reformatory form of punishment considers that a convict can be modified and corrected by proper counselling and environment.
Reformatory form of punishment is desirable for it addresses the root cause of the problem.
‘Give a dog a bad name and hang him’. This is retributive or avenging punishment. Here the criminal is severely punished, to deter others to obey the law. The effect of such a form of punishment on the public is debatable, but the effect it has on the criminal is evident. Such punishments existed up to the nineteenth century when the legal codes were severe and the penalties harsh. This was consciously done, to compel people to obey and fear law. It was also felt that criminals or people who broke the law should be kept away from contaminating the society.
The state thus took upon itself the role of policing the society. The effect on the criminal, was disastrous. They suffered brutalities in prison and were bullied into submission. Punishment like flogging and solitary confinement, even denial of food and water were the order of the day. Being in.the company of hardened criminals, they imbibed their skills and nursed a secret hatred for society. They came out of prison more hardened and dangerous, Their animosity towards society further aggravated as people shunned and looked down on them. Exasperated they took to crime on a much larger scale. Thus a small time offender, became a hardened criminal.
This negative aspect of retributive punishment made humanitarians campaign for prison reforms, which resulted in a quantum shift in the ideology of meting out punishment. The prison codes have been modified and savage penalties have been abolished. Prisoners today enjoy human rights, which are duly respected. This is because of growing conviction, that reformatory form of punishment which lays stress on reforming the person is more desirable than punitive.
The reformatory form of punishment considers a convict a human being, who can be modified and corrected, to become a good citizen. Thus in imprisoning the criminal the state sees this as an opportunity to reform him. Jails today are therefore equipped with television, libraries and vocational training centres. Besides formal education, vocational training is also given to prisoners so that they can live a normal life on completing their term.
Thus offenders are reformed to become good citizens. Indeed, the reformatory form of punishment is desirable for it addresses the root cause of the problem, which could be poverty or deprivation. This is also in line with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
- ‘Retributive punishment is the need of the hour to curb the growing incidence of crime.’ Give your views for or against the statement.
- Crime and punishment in the modem world