crime and punishment

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  • theories as to why people commit crime
    • criminal behaviour can be caused by a person's free choice
    • criminal behaviour can be caused by a person's environment, eg a broken home or failure at school could be a catalyst for the change to becoming a criminal
    • criminal behaviour can seem like the only option for a person if they are unable to conform to society
    • criminal behaviour can develop through being associated with other criminals
    • aims of punishment
      • deterrence - punishment should put people off committing crime
      • protection - punishment should protect society from the criminal and the criminal from themselves
      • reformation - punishment should reform the criminal
      • retribution - punishment should make the criminal pay for what they have done wrong
      • reparation - punishment should compensate the victim(s) of a crime
      • vindication - the punishment makes sure that the law is respected
    • What does Christianity say about crime?
      • sin is a part of human nature and that all people have the potential to commit a crime.
      • the Bible teaches the difference between right and wrong. Following God's will leads people to the right path; ignoring God's will leads to disaster.
      • People should be treated fairly.
      • God wants the world to be ruled justly.
      • do not believe in taking revenge
      • believe that criminals should be treated justly.
  • capital punishment
    • The Bible sets down the death penalty for some crimes, so it must be acceptable to God. This is often seen as retribution.
    • Article 37 of its Thirty Nine Articles which says: The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences.
    • St Thomas Aquinas argued that peace in society was more important than reforming the sinner, the protection of the whole of society is more important than the individual.
    • Jesus Christ came to Earth to reform sinners, as he did with the woman caught in adultery
    • Jesus said: "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."
    • Christians believe in the sanctity of life, that life is holy and belongs to God and therefore only God has the power to take life
  • in favour
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