“The purpose of the Criminal Justice System is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent.” And it is to this extent that the importance of punishment can be stretched onto three horizons – the offender, the offended, and the society at large.
The offenders ought to be punished not just to let them know that their crimes would not be excused by the society, but also to give them the much-needed space and leisure for contemplation as well as for re-evaluation of their skills and intellect.
Legally authorized punishment assures the offended of justice to the point of preventing the offended himself/herself from turning harshly vindictive towards the offender.
This in turn helps maintain ordinance in the society in more ways than one. Firstly, a legally prescribed code of punishment leaves little space for personal, racial, caste, religious, and such other bias, and retributive brutality; thereby establishing the fact that it is important to punish the wrong-doer, but it is equally, if not more, important to uphold one’s own humanity in doing so. Secondly, punishment ostracizes the offender from the society to a certain limit wherein the society feels safeguarded from the convicted, and the convict is in a way protected from the wrath of the community and given an opportunity to rethink his perceptions of the set social touchstones.
In some cases, the punishment term gives the offender access to resources such as education, vocational training, counselling, and medical and/or psychological aid, the lack of which had perhaps triggered his motivation to commit the crime in the first place. In still others, rehabilitative punishment measures aid the offenders in understanding their own criminal behaviour and at least trying to oust such anti-social instincts with socially acceptable norms.
In a community devoid of correctional institutions to house offenders away from civilians and provide them with the space and resources to reform and rehabilitate, as well as to conduct appropriate criminological assessments on them to understand what led them to indulge in illegal behaviour in the first place, the general society would be left with undesirable extreme options of responding to criminality.
Thus, the present correctional administration sustains an arrangement where those accused of crimes are not merely kept away from their civil society life as punishment, but supervised, and provided with guided treatment to not re-offend. The ultimate goal of legalised punishment is to create an increasingly productive and peaceful society. (‘Criminal Justice System and Legal Reforms in India – Jus Dicere’ n.d.)
- ‘Criminal Justice System and Legal Reforms in India – Jus Dicere’. n.d. Accessed 30 August 2017. https://www.jusdicere.in/criminal-justice-system-and-legal-reforms-in-india/.