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Punishment has always included elements of discipline and reform. Critically discuss, with reference to theory, how these two components have competed but never replaced one another since the 18th Century. Essay Example

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Punishment in Criminology 3


Punishment in Criminology

Punishment has always included elements of discipline and reform. In the development of this research paper, the focus will be on critical discussion, with reference to the punishment theory, of how discipline and reform have been able to compete, but never replaced one another since the 18th century. Punishment refers to the approved legal technique or mechanism aiming at facilitating the task of crime control within the society. There are two opposing purposes or ideas relating to the concept of punishment in the criminology department. The aim of punishment is to facilitate prevention of the future crime, thus, the adoption and implementation of the reductivist perspective. On the other hand, there are those who look to the past to punish crimes, which have undergone execution tends to incorporate retributivist perspective (Valverde, 2009).

Discipline and punish come out as the history of the modern or contemporary penal system. In the development and presentation of his ideas on the topic of punishment, Foucault sought to analyse punishment within the social context, thus, the platform for the assessment and exploration of the influence of changing power relations on punishment. This is through integration of the situational analysis of the events before the 18th century in which public execution and corporal punishment were critical punishments (Garland, 1986). On the other hand, there was torture as a critical element or part of the different criminal investigations.

During this period, punishment was a ceremonial act directed at the prisoner’s body. In this ritual, the audience was important. Additionally, integration of the public execution was critical in the reestablishment of the authority, as well as power of the leader in question. In the 18th century, the criminology sector sought to adopt and incorporate diverse reforms to the element of punishment. According to Foucault, the reformers sought to gain substantive motivation from their concern for the welfare of the prisoners, as well as efficient operation of power. From this perspective, these practitioners sought to propose the theatre of punishment. In this context, there was public display of the complex system of representations, thus, the tendency of punishments to relate to their crimes. Punishment did serve as the valuable obstacle to law breaking.

In the development and presentation of his work, discipline and punish, Foucault sought to explore the issue of imprisonment as a technical project. Accordingly, this theorist did believe on the technical mutation regarding the transition from public executions to the aspects of imprisonment. Evidently, most practitioners tend to believe that prison systems contribute to the great failure of the penal justice. In the criminological aspect, it is evident to note that prisons do not adhere to the chronological establishment, thus, the recognition of failure and then reform. The critiques of the prisons did appear early on, thus, the platform to incorporate various reforms. For instance, critiques did believe that prisons do not play a critical role in diminishing the crime rate. Secondly, critiques did highlight the influence of detention in causing recidivism (Moore, 1993).

Similarly, the critiques sought to argue on the role and influence of prison in producing delinquents through constraints and environment, thus, the opportunity to encourage delinquents to associate and engage in the preparation for future crimes. Consequently, the prison conditions did condemn the freed inmates to recidivism in future, as well as eventual surveillance. Critiques did also highlight the role and implication of prison systems in the creation of delinquency through making the prisoner’s family destitute (Innes and Styles, 1986). Foucault believes that it is inappropriate to perceive the failures and reforms of prison as elements of three stages, but as imposed system on the juridical deprivation of liberty. This relates to the system of the discipline of prison, increasing aspects of objectivity, and reintroduction of criminality, as well as the repetition of reform, thus, the carceral system in accordance with Foucault’s perspective. In the illustration of the argument by Foucault, it is ideal to highlight the perception on the disciplinary punishment, which relates to incarceration of the offenders, as well as subsequent subjection to the power of the prison officers. These aspects are vital in the illustration of two elements of punishment with reference to the discipline and reform.

In contributing to the argument on discipline and reform, Raynor and Robinson focused on the exploration of the concept of rehabilitation. In the late 1990s, rehabilitation sought to experience substantive revival through integrating elements of commitment to the system as an approach towards dealing with offenders in attempts to curb crime within the society. The revival did not demonstrate confinement to the realm of the penal practices, but was evident in the development and integration of the penal policy statements (Raynor and Robinson, 2009). Raynor and Robinson did incorporate diverse discussions on the offender rehabilitation in the academic, policy, and practice contexts. Rehabilitation is an action or process, which focuses on the notion of restoration.

On the other hand, it is possible to conceptualize rehabilitation as the restoration process involving the return to the former state of regression while providing the platform for the progressive or positive development (Raynor and Robinson, 2009). In the criminology context, rehabilitation is the mechanism or approach, which enables the practitioners to take away the desire to offend. The purpose of rehabilitation or reform is to facilitate effective and efficient reintegration of the offender into the society following substantive punishment duration, thus, the platform to design punishment in the achievement of this element of reform (Raynor and Robinson, 2009). One of the first critical models of rehabilitation is the ‘correctional’ rehabilitation, which perceives rehabilitation or reform as the process of integrating or initiating positive change among the individuals, thus, the essence of the orthodox model.

Correctional rehabilitation also associates with effective and substantive training of the offenders in pursuit of the valuable skills for appropriate reintegration within the society. Correctional rehabilitation approach aims at addressing factors such as economic, social, and political issues, which have direct implications in increasing crime within the society. From this perspective, the objective of the model is to enable criminology practitioners to tackle or handle diverse causes of crime (Murphy, 1985). In the conceptualization of rehabilitation, Raynor and Robinson focused on the illustration of critical reasons to consider this aspect of punishment. This is through incorporation of theoretical justifications, as well as moral arguments, which support rehabilitation.

For instance, Raynor and Robinson focused on the utilization of the historical approach with the intention of tracing the development of ideas supportive of rehabilitation while considering the origins of probation in England and Wales, as well as approaches by Christians to save souls. In the 20th century, Raynor and Robinson did highlight the emergence or establishment of the utilitarian model in the maximization of the decent, as well as productive members of the society in the midst of ‘rights-based or state-obligated’ reforms. Raynor and Robinson did believe on the positive aspects of rehabilitation on the improvement of public safety, as well as reduction of risks in tackling crimes across the society. Practitioners have the obligation to concentrate on the offenders, victims, and communities as the beneficiaries of the rehabilitation, thus, the need to avoid subsequent conflicts in handling crime. Probation services have the ability choose from broad ranges of stakeholders they aim at serving in accordance with the demands and expectations of the criminology department (Christopher, 2001).

According to Raynor and Robinson, rehabilitation proves to be more humanizing while demonstrating dignified objective, thus, one of the most valuable ideological justification for punishment. This promotes the humanizing belief enabling offenders to be saved rather than just experience punishment. Punishment for punishment’s sake proves to be appropriate, thus, the need for rehabilitation in pursuit of a decent society. Rehabilitation approach proves to be ideal in addressing societal and individual obligation, thus, placing substantive value on the rights with the intention of changing the offender, as well as prevention of re-offending. The aim of rehabilitation is to reduce re-offending and reducing crime, thus, the platform to promote the right to safety. Evidently, rehabilitation is vital in the protection of the individuals against victimization of crime.

There are various theories of punishment elaborating the elements of discipline and reform/rehabilitation. In the first instance, there is the concept of deterrent theory. The central aspect of this theory is to ensure that individuals do not engage in criminal behaviours or activities. The approach prevents the wrongdoer or criminal from executing a criminal act, but also to make him an example for others, calculating mechanisms to curb criminal tendencies in other societies. In certain instances, severe punishments such as death and stoning or whipping were applicable in deterring minor offences. Categorically, deterrence theory of punishment is majorly applicable in various Muslim nations. Secondly, there is the concept of the preventive theory, which aims at preventing prisoners from repetitive endeavours, thus warding off recidivism. In this context, practitioners focus on disabling offenders through punishments such as death, exile, incarceration, and potential forfeiture of office. Critiques have been able to find that preventive theory has undesirable effect on the first offenders and juvenile offenders.

Thirdly, there is the concept of retributive theory, which elaborates on the essence of tooth-for-tooth or limb-for-limb attributes in punishing offenders in attempts to minimize crime within the society. In the earlier stages, legal sanctions sought to depend on vengeance and retaliation. Evidently, revenge proves to be justice gone wild. The theory or mechanism tends to be applicable in archaic, barbaric, and inhuman societies. In the modern context, the theory tends to be limited because of the practices by contemporary human rights philosophers condemning cruel concept.

There is also the reformative theory, which aims at condemning the sin rather than the sinner. Reformation process is like the act of a surgeon operating on the person with the objective of removing the pain. The theory aims at bringing back the tainted and condemned culprits to the national mainstream and civil society, as well as meaningful citizens. Critiques believe that prisons are dwelling homes, thus, satirist perspective in understanding punishment. Additionally, there is expiatory theory, which aims at ensuring that the criminals pay for their criminal actions or behaviours.

The theory associates with repentance, compunction, atonement, and reparation, thus, the conscience-oriented approach towards cleansing of the hearts. It is ideal for the offender to engage in serving the victims, as well as their dependents with the objective of compensating the deprivation. Practitioners tend to believe that this theory is too idealistic, thus, impracticable in addressing or minimizing crime within the society. Moreover, experimentation of the theory proves to be too expensive in accordance with public safety and security in attempts to reduce crime within the society. Furthermore, criminologists focus on the utilization of multiple approaches, thus, integration of other mechanisms in pursuit of safe communities and platforms.

Various researchers and criminologists have focused on expression of substantive debates on the essence of rehabilitating criminals. One of such practitioners is Robert Martinson. As an articulate criminologist, Martinson sought to become one of the leading entities in debunking the idea of ‘rehabilitating’ criminals. Various researchers sought to use his melancholy suicide in the demonstration of the metaphor for what would follow in the American corrections. In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States focused on abandoning the essence of rehabilitation from the serious consideration in the course of sentencing subsequent offenders (Ogloff, 2002; Martinson, 1974). In this context, the judicial system would consider sentencing defendants for the crime rather than considering factors such as amenability to treatment, family, and personal history.

Martinson sought to utilize a survey of 231 studies on offender rehabilitation in the development of the research article, the effectiveness of correctional treatment: a survey of treatment evaluation studies. As an articulate researcher, Martinson focused on expressing the fact that nothing works in rehabilitation of the offenders, thus, the platform to appeal to the left and right divide. Martinson did believe that correctional treatments did not have appreciable effects with reference to negative and positive implications regarding the rates of recidivism of the convicted offenders (Cullen, 2013; Martinson, 1974). The approach did occur as good news to the civil libertarians aiming at illustrating injustices on indeterminate sentencing.

For instance, in the case of California, offenders had the opportunity to experience regular day-to-life prison sentences with release dates based on the vague rehabilitative criteria such as attitudes. The conservatives did highlight the importance of Martinson’s approach on ‘nothing works’ as an effective platform for the adoption and implementation of tough mechanisms in responding to increased offences across the society. In 1974, Martinson sought to elaborate on the ineffectiveness of rehabilitation. In the late 1970s, Martinson sought to adopt and integrate impressionistic view in repudiating ‘nothing works.’ Categorically, converse to his previous position, Martinson was able to highlight the fact that certain treatment programs do have an appreciable effect on recidivism. Some of the programs are critical and beneficial with equal or greater significance while others are harmful.

There are various critiques regarding ‘nothing works.’ One argument against the perception by Martinson was the amateurish implementation and integration of the successful programs within the social service delivery by the government and private agencies. This amateurish perception is what does not work. Nonetheless, the government has been able to make tentative progress in exploring and examining the conditions for the implementation and maintenance of principles of effective intervention (Thornton, 1987).

In 1989, a rehabilitation professional sought to document an article questioning rehabilitation as a waste of time. The treatment accorded to Martinson from rehabilitation professionals did contribute to his personal anguish. Martinson did experience substantive plague from the professional worriers. Categorically, it is essential to note that ‘what works’ had come under substantive attack because of its claims on the ineffectiveness of rehabilitation. Critiques did accuse Martinson concerning scholar malfeasance and sheer stupidity concerning the potentiality of rehabilitating in helping or transformation of the offenders in pursuit of reduction of crime across the world.

Conclusively, the paper focused on the development of a critical discussion, with reference to the punishment theory, of how discipline and reform have been able to compete, but never replaced one another since the 18th century. According to the findings of the study, punishment aims at disciplining and rehabilitating offenders for potential and effective reintegration into the society. These elements liaise together in the course of enhancing public safety and security of the society.

List of References

Christopher, R.L., 2001, “Deterring Retributivism: The Injustice of Just Punishment,” Nw. UL Rev., 96, p.843.

Cullen, F.T., 2013, “Rehabilitation: Beyond nothing works,” Crime and Justice, 42(1), pp.299-376.

Garland, D., 1986, “Foucault’s Discipline and Punish an Exposition and Critique,” Law & Social Inquiry, 11(4), pp.847-880.

Innes, J. and Styles, J., 1986, “The crime wave: recent writing on crime and criminal justice in eighteenth-century England,” The Journal of British Studies, 25(04), pp.380-435.

Martinson, R., 1974, “What works?-Questions and answers about prison reform,” The public interest, (35), p.22.

Martinson, R., 1976, “California research at the crossroads,” Crime & Delinquency, 22(2), pp.180-191

Moore, M.S., 1993, “Justifying Retributivism,” Israel Law Review, 27(1-2), pp. 15-49.

Murphy, J.G., 1985, “Retributivism, moral education, and the liberal state,” Criminal Justice Ethics, 4(1), pp. 3-11

Ogloff, J.R., 2002, “Offender rehabilitation: From “nothing works” to what next?” Australian Psychologist, 37(3), pp.245-252

Raynor, P. and Robinson, G., 2009, “Why help offenders? Arguments for rehabilitation as a penal strategy,” European Journal of Probation, 1(1), pp.3-20

Thornton, D., 1987, “Treatment effects on recidivism: A reappraisal of the ‘Nothing Works’ doctrine.”

Valverde, M., 2009, “Beyond Discipline and Punish: Foucault’s challenge to criminology,” Carcer. Noteb, 4, pp. 201-224.