Whatis the Most Important Aim of Punishmetn Essay

Submitted By TulipJulia
Words: 2226
Pages: 9

When someone commits a crime there are many different aims of the punishment that people think about. For example if somebody breaks a window then people would expect them to pay for what they broke whether by actual money or community service. This aim of punishment is called retribution meaning ‘pay back’ for the crime committed. The Jamie Bulger case is a good case to look at because there were many different aims to the punishment that the killers received. James Bulger was a two, almost three, year old boy. One day when out shopping with his Mum in the Strand shopping centre two 10 year old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson took his hand and lead him away on a three mile walk. Along the way they viciously beat the young boy to death before leaving his injured body tied to a train track. The whole of Britain was shocked at this murder however the killers were only ten years old so how should they punish the boys?
Deterrence is a very important aim of punishment. Deterrence is when you stop people committing a crime by scaring them of with the punishment. For example a sentence in prison would be unpleasant while it lasted and could destroy your reputation for years afterwards. Hopefully these considerations would make people think before committing the crime because you lose all your freedom. In the James Bulger Case, Michael Howard, Minister of Justice who had law and order as a priority, wanted to give the boys a prison sentence of 15 years or more. He argued that it was a very serious case so it deserved a harsh sentence. He felt that he had looked at all the factors, hadn’t been influenced by the public in any way and that the boys deserved this sentence. However this is a very rare case and maybe the boys didn’t fully understand or realise the sort of punishment they could receive. This sort of tough punishment doesn’t always stop crime from happening as we can see in the case of America. America’s aims of punishment usually focus on deterrence and retribution but they have a very high prison rate, with nearly 800 out of 100,000 people in prison, as well as a high reoffend rate (60% will reoffend, 480/800 will commit a second crime). This might suggest that they are doing something wrong. When comparing this to Norway, whose main aim is rehabilitation, you can see a massive difference in the percentages. They have 20% of criminals reoffend and only 71 people out of 100,000 are in prison in the first place.
Quite often people consider protection a very important aim of punishment. Protection is punishing the criminal to keep society safe. For instance if a serial killer got caught they would probably get locked up in prison for a long time, away from society. When we think of protection we usually think that it is to keep society safe but in the Bulger case it was the killers that needed protection. After the media made the knowledge about the killing public many people became very angry that two boys could do something so evil. In fact they became so angry that some of the public threatened to kill them. The exact words they used were ‘let the boys go free so we can hunt them down and kill them’. Whenever the two boys travelled anywhere people were always waiting to throw bricks at them or shout abuse. This just goes to show the extent of the anger people felt about the murder. In fact the public got so furious that they started taking out there hate on the families of the boys. The families had to move house several times because of resentful neighbours and were treated like outcasts. Society felt this way because they were shocked. Shocked by the brutal murder and shocked at the age of the murderers. The protection went as far as giving the boys completely new identities as well as putting in place an injunction that stopped people telling any knowledge that they knew about the location of the boys. This goes to prove that protection was not a key aim for the boy’s punishment because they were more in danger…