Home  >  Articles  >  What Is Punishment

What is Punishment?

Punishment is the imposition of something unpleasant on an individual in response to something the individual has done that society feels is bad. In order for something to be classified as punishment, it must be imposed on an individual by someone with the legal power to do so. For instance, a judge can punish a person by sentencing him or her to jail time. A parent cannot technically punish a child.

Types of punishment include:

  • Incarceration
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Revocation of rights
  • Loss of a license
  • Fines
  • Death
  • Shame

Community service and house arrest are also forms of punishment. Pretty much anything can be a punishment as long as it is administered by an individual who has the lawful authorization to inflict punishment.

Punishment is used as either retribution or deterrence. The retributive concept behind punishment has been popular in the United States in the last 30 years. When punishment is a form of retribution, it is seen as being “just desserts.” A person has committed a crime and so needs to be punished for it. The individual is punished for being a bad person.

As deterrence, punishment has been somewhat less successful. The idea is that punishing one person will prevent more crime from occurring. This is done through both specific and general deterrence. Specific deterrence is the prevention of crime by prohibiting the person who has already committed a crime from committing another crime because he or she is locked up or under house arrest or something similar. General deterrence is the idea that by locking up person A for a crime, person B or some other individual will not commit the crime because of a fear of being punished.

Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime, your future is at stake. To discuss the best plan for your defense, contact the Appleton criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. at 1-888-565-7597.