Crime and Punishment

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  • Crime and Punishment
    • Muslim Beliefs
      • Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and forgives the sins of those who repent
      • Some countries have Shari'ah Law, for example, Saudi Arabia
        • Lying about someone is a serious crime - if you lie about someone in a court, the punishment is 80 lashes
        • Shari'ah law is based upon four sources: the Qur'an, the Sunnah, the consensus of Islamic scholars and new case law, which has been decided by Shari'ah judges
      • Victims of a crime (or their relatives) have a say in the punishment
      • Most Muslim countries retain the death penalty for murder
        • In some places it is also available if a Muslim converts to another religion or makes statements attacking Islam
          • The next of kin of the victim sometimes accepts financial compensation instead of the offender being executed
      • Punishment in Islamic societies is designed to deter people from breaking the law
        • The aim is to ensure that the law is respected and to give the victims satisfaction
    • Christian Beliefs
      • Normally laws should be obeyed because they are for the good of all
        • The Bible says that 'the authorities have been put there by God'
      • Sometimes Christians believe governments or laws are unjust and should be challenged
      • Christians do not believe punishment is wrong, but many believe punishment should be humane
        • For example, prisons should have decent facilities and should aim to reform the criminal
      • Christians believe it is important to follow Jesus' example of forgiveness
        • Once a punishment has been carried out, forgiveness and a new chance should be given to the criminal
        • Jesus said to 'forgive seventy times seven'
      • Because of the belief in forgiveness, most Christians oppose capital punishment
        • Christians believe it is important to follow Jesus' example of forgiveness
          • Once a punishment has been carried out, forgiveness and a new chance should be given to the criminal
          • Jesus said to 'forgive seventy times seven'
        • The Ten Commandments say 'do not kill'
      • Christians believe that it is important to work towards stopping the causes of crime
      • Most Christians do not support the idea of retribution but would support the other main aims of punishment
      • Some Christians support capital punishment using the principle of 'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed'
        • They see the threat of the death penalty as a deterrent that helps prevent serious crime
        • Other Christians doubt whether capital punishment is a deterrent and oppose it because an innocent person might be executed and it removes the possibility of repentance
          • They believe that only God has the right to take away life
    • Key terms
      • Crime: an offence that is punishable by law, e.g. stealing
      • Duty: a moral or legal obligation
      • Responsibility: a duty to care for or having control over something or someone
      • Conscience: the inner feeling you are doing right or wrong
      • Forgiveness: showing grace and mercy and pardoning someone for what they have done wrong
      • Repentance: being truly sorry and trying to change one's behaviour so as not to do the same again
      • Young offender: a person under 18 who has broken the law
      • Prison reform: a movement that tries to ensure offenders are treated humanely in prison
      • Parole: when a prisoner is released without having completed their sentence, because they have behaved well and accepted their guilt
        • The prisoner is monitored to try to ensure that they do not re-offend
      • Life imprisonment: a prison sentence that (theoretically) keeps people in prison until they die
      • Early release: when a prisoner is allowed out of prison even though they have not completed their sentence, or fulfilled the criteria for getting parole
    • Causes of crime
      • Social reasons
        • Lack of education
        • Poor parenting
        • Peer pressure
        • Paying for drug or alcohol habits
        • Excitement
      • Environmental reasons
        • Poverty
        • Unemployment
        • Poor housing
        • Gang culture
      • Psychological reasons
        • Mental illness
        • Human nature
        • Greed
        • Violence on TV
    • Aims of punishment
      • Protection: keeping the public from being harmed, threatened or injured by criminals
      • Deterrence: potential criminals are deterred from committing crimes when they see what happens to offenders
      • Reformation: changing someone's behaviour for the better, so they become a useful and law-abiding member of society
      • Vindication: showing that the law is upheld, and that it is right and must be respected
      • Retribution: revenge
      • Reparation: helping an offender put something back into society
    • Types of punishment
      • Imprisonment: when a person is put in jail for committing a crime
        • Advantages of prison
          • Society is protected from dangerous and violent criminals
          • Retribution - it isolates those who deserve such punishment from their family and friends
          • It stops people reoffending, because they are locked away
          • It acts as a deterrent to others and ensures that the law is respected
          • It gives offenders a chance to reflect on their actions and decide to reform
        • Disadvantages of prison
          • They are often called 'schools for crime' - prisoners can educate each other in criminal methods
          • Prisons often breed resentment, bitterness, and a determination to get back at society
          • Most prisoners reoffend on release, so the system does not bring about refom
          • A prison record makes it very difficult to get a job on release, which may lead back into crime
          • Offenders' families suffer through no fault of their own, e.g. children are deprived of a parent
          • Relationships often break down while a person is in prison
      • Fine: money paid as punishment for a crime or other offence
      • Community service order: unpaid work that an offender performs for the benefit of the local community rather than going to prison
      • Suspended sentence: the offender's prison sentence is not carried out so long as they do not offend for the period of the sentence
      • Probation: an alternative to prison where an offender has to meet regularly with a probation officer to ensure that they do not re-offend, and movement may be restircted
      • Electronic tagging: an offender has to wear an electronic device which tracks their movement to ensure restrictions of movement are observed
      • Care order: a young offender is put in the care of social services
    • Types of crime

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