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The Effectiveness (or Non-effectiveness) of Punishment

3 pages
589 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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In the article about the adequate punishment, the author analyzes the rate of crime in response to punishment. The effectiveness of the sentence according to the author depends on the frequency of punishment, how immediately the punishment is given and positive reinforcement when one does something positive. Punishment when not well administered could lead to detrimental punishments. The government regulates how the punishment is administered to criminals through policing. Research by Charles Murray in the 1990s proved that severe punishment and long imprisonments deterred people from committing crimes but over the years crime have continued to increase. According to the author, education is the way to avert crime and not punishment. The rate at which criminals are re-arrested is high if the criminal is not educated unlike one with an education. Research shows that people with a masters degree have a 0% re-arresting rates as compared to the 62% re-arrest rate of illiterate inmates.

In my opinion, rates of crime could be controlled by both education and increase in punishment rates. The rise in punishment terms and severity of the punishment decreases crime. People are usually afraid of suffering whether physical, emotional or psychological suffering. Therefore, they will do their best to ensure they do not face suffering. In the society we live in people live by looking at the examples of others. When a person in a given community commits a crime, and punishment administered to them, they act as an example to the rest of the society. Punishment could be administered to the criminal in various ways depending on the severity of the crime. The punishment could vary from imprisonment which sets you apart from the community to capital punishment. The punishment the criminal faces makes others in the community afraid to commit the crime. The rate of re-arrest will also go down if the punishment is stricter as the criminal will be afraid to face yet another punishment because of the suffering they experience. When the punishment is minimal, re-arrest of the criminal is high because no considerable distress was gone through.

Education is also key in reducing crime rates, unlike punishment. Educated people are more aware of the law and how it operates and, therefore, will avert crime. Illiterate people are ignorant of the law and are also jobless thus have the time to commit a crime and have little knowledge of the consequences. The higher the level of learning the higher the chances that a person has a stable income and the standards of living improved. There is no reason to commit crime because they have busy schedules and good incomes. The illiterate do manual jobs or no jobs at all, and their living standards are low and, therefore, may commit a crime to better their living standards. The literate also has low chances of being re-arrested because they understand what had gotten them arrested in the first place. Inmates should be educated so as to skill them for the outside world. When they are freed with no education or skill they are bound to get into trouble again because they lack a means of sustenance.

In conclusion, punishment is just as valid as education, although punishment gets to a community more than education. Illiterate people understand what punishment is and do not need an education for them to get it. Education is only a way of making peoples livelihoods better, therefore, avoiding and understanding crime. Education is a means of preventing crime while punishment is a way to control crime when it has already happened.

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