History of Punishment

Published: 2017-12-12 13:28:05
468 words
2 pages
4 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
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Early Forms of Punishment 

The early forms of punishment included banishment that required the offender to leave his home and got a far county either permanently or for a period of time, the second form of punishment was bastinado and this involved beating the offender on the soles of their feet using a stick. This was used because the beating on the soles is very painful. The third form of punishment was beheading where there was the use of either an axe or a sword for the more painful and hanging for the less painful beheading. Birching was also another form of punishment and this involved beating the offender across the backside using twigs, there was also the stoning of the offender where they were stoned to death. There were numerous forms of punishing offenders and some of them include putting them into slavery, public executions, prisoning, poisoning, picketing, mutilation, locking up among others. 

The earlier forms of punishment proved to be more barbaric in comparison to the forms of punishment used in the modern society. This is because the current forms of punishment aim at rehabilitating criminals as opposed to the traditional forms of punishment that aimed at inflicting pain on the offenders. The common form of punishment in the modern society is imprisonment and this does not involve inflicting pain of the offenders as was the case of the early forms of punishment. However, imprisonment proves to relate directly to the earlier form of punishment, which was banishment. This is because both forms of punishment served to separate the offender from the society either forever of for a specified period of time. Additionally, hanging of criminals still exists in the modern society as a form of punishment for more serious cases and this compares in equal measure to the earlier form of punishment. 

Forms of punishments

The strengths to the earlier forms of punishment is that they aimed at ensuring zero tolerance to crime and ensured that the society discourages the would-be offenders. The weakness however is that the earlier form of punishment did not give the criminals the opportunity to reform and take part in the building of the society. The strengths of the modern forms of punishment is that it gives the criminals the opportunity to reform and creates an opportunity for the offenders to acquire skills and engage in the building of the society. The weakness however is that the modern forms of punishment encourage criminal activities as it provides lenient modes of punishment. In order to ensure effectiveness of the forms of punishment in the modern society, the criminals need to be imprisoned and ensure that they have limited contact with the outside world. Offenders also need to be subjected to hard work while they are in the prisons. 


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