Protection- important purposes of punishment 2.

What is Protection? (KU)

  • Trying to punish criminals so that society is protected
  • Stopping the criminal from committing more crime and causing
    further harm to society
  • Aiming to protect society from the pain caused by criminals
  • Prison is the biggest form of protection against criminals and further crime. This is because they are locked away and society doesn’t need to be afraid.
  • Prison limits the criminal’s freedom and monitors their behaviour

Moral Issues Raised by Protection (KU)

  • Rights: prison doesn’t keep criminals safe but abuses their rights eg violence, high suicide etc
  • Duty: it is our duty to protect society but its also our duty to get to the root of the problem and find ways to stop reoffending
  • Duty: our methods of protection aren’t working because reoffending is high so we need to focus on reformation
  • Perspectives: goes against Christian view of showing forgiveness
    and compassion

Generic Christian Responses to crime (KU)


  • Jesus taught forgiveness and compassion so everyone deserves a chance to change
  • We are all God’s children so we are all equal in the eyes of God.
  • Everyone is the same
  • “Only God can judge” criminals will receive punishment in hell
  • Jesus taught his followers to forgive and “turn the other cheek”. There are examples of this in the Bible when Jesus forgave the criminals on the cross beside him
  • Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 36) that people who help those in need will go to Heaven. This is because Jesus identifies himself with the outcasts, including prisoners.
  • Those who treat the outcasts well will have eternal life, which means they will go to Heaven.
  • Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’ Matthew 7:3
  • “Give to the one who begs from you and don’t refuse the one who borrows from you” (Matthew 5:42)


– “An eye for an eye” whatever is done to you should be able to be
done back.
– Examples of God seeking revenge in the story of Moses (carrying out
CP to the first-born Egyptian son.

Generic Buddhist Responses to Crime and protection (KU)

– Buddhists are also taught to show compassion and forgiveness to others, and they will aim to demonstrate loving-kindness to all human beings, including those who have committed a crime.
– Buddhists believe we should not have actions fuelled by the 3RPs
– Buddhists follow the five precepts which are a set of ethics that Buddhists should follow for example ‘I abstain from harming any living thing’ and ‘I abstain from taking what is not freely given’
– Buddhists also believe that any actions they have should be Skilful ones and they should avoid any unskilful actions as the Kamma that any actions generate will affect their rebirth and their ability to
reach Nibbana

Generic Non-Religious Responses to crime (KU)

-consequentialist ethical system which means they are concerned with the consequences of an action
– Their aim is to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number (majority)
– Something is morally correct if it satisfies majority
– aim to minimise the pain or suffering and maximise happiness
– J.S Mill revenge is bad as it causes a revengeful society so
rehabilitation is better as he argued if you take someone’s life it was acceptable to “blot him out of the fellowship of mankind” he felt prison more inhumane than CP
– Bentham also better to aim for reformation as revenge is one evil adding to another

Impact of Protection on Society (A)

– Society is protected from them committing the crime.
– The criminal is protected from their own behaviour
– Unless a prisoner is locked away forever they will come back out
again and unless reformed they will be a threat again.
– The criminal could come out having learned more about how to
commit crimes and be a more skilled criminal.
– Offenders can come out hardened and more dangerous.
– It doesn’t protect prisoners from each other.
– It’s only a short-term solution.
– Doesn’t deal with the causes of crime.

Impact of Protection on Christians (A)

  • impacts on Christians as if we are all God’s children, they will agree
    with protecting society and criminal because it would be equal
  • if protection has an element of reform would agree as allowing
    criminal to change and seek forgiveness
  • may impact on Christians as they may follow God’s example and think
    it’s acceptable as if God protects people why shouldn’t we
  • it is not our duty to decide who should be protected and who
    shouldn’t as this is God’s role

Impact of Protection on Buddhists (A)

– Protecting people from harm is good and will reduce suffering.
– Would help the people who are being protected because Buddhism seeks the happiness of all.
– Would help the criminals’ kamma too as while they are in prison, they can cause no further harm to others – therefore, protecting both the criminal and society.

Impact of Protection on Utilitarian’s (A)

  • may agree as consequences could be good e.g., safer society
  • agree if majority agrees, may agree as they don’t need to be scared that criminals will harm them again
  • agree because protection minimises suffering as we are protected, the criminal can’t reoffend and reducing suffering for criminal also as we are protecting them from themselves.
  • agree if there was an element of reformation as while we are protecting them, we need to help them change so better for the majority in the long term

Christian Religious Responses Generic Evaluation:

  • (5) Brings justice for the victim, criminals deserve to be punished,
    they are responsible for their own actions (Old Testament view)
  • Need to help as many people as may not be their fault due to the
    causes of crime so need to look at individual circumstances
  • (1)&(5) views of “an eye for an eye” and compassion/forgiveness
    contradict each other how do you know what you are meant to
  • (1) Some crimes are unforgivable some criminals don’t deserve
    forgiveness and we need to focus on the innocent
  • (3) God might not be real can’t rely on him to punish society would be

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