Crime and Punishment

Explaining Ethics 2 of OCR Full course RS

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  • Created on: 19-06-11 16:47
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Crime and punishment
Different reasons why we should use punishment:
Deterrent- Criminals should be afraid of what will happen to them if they are caught.
Retribution- crimes deserve to be punished.
Protection- society should be protected from criminals and not live in fear.
Reform- punishment can lead criminals to see the error of their ways and so
improve themselves by stopping to commit crimes.
The Bible and punishment
In the Old Testament, specific punishments are listed for specific crimes and this follows the
belief that punishment should not exceed the offense. Moses taught: "eye for an eye,
tooth for tooth" Leviticus 24
The New Testament mentions that you should accept the punishment given to them: "obey
the government, for God is the one who put it there" Romans 13
St Augustine teaches that anything you do must be out of LOVE ­ you can punish
someone if you are doing so to benefit them.
Christians often follow Jesus' example and show mercy and forgiveness:
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke 23
"he causes his sun to rise on evil and good" Matthew 5 ­ The sun represents God's love-
saying God loves everyone and so humans should too.
Jesus challenged people to rethink what was in the Old Testament and to "turn the other
cheek" when someone wrongs you. He also taught: "if any one of you is without sin, let
he be the first to throw a stone at her" John 8:7 when a crowd of people wanted to
stone a woman to death.
Christians believe that human's justice will not compare to that of God so they must do
good as even if their crime is not punished by man, it will be by God on the final
judgement day.
Elizabeth Fry was a Quaker who worked to improve conditions for criminals; she features
on the £5 note.

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Sister Helen Prejean devoted her life to caring for people who were about to be executed
in Death Row.
Capital punishment
For Against
It removes the worst criminals meaning it is It violated God's will as he alone can give or
safer for society take life.
It makes the criminals suffer in proportion It is impossible to have foolproof conviction
to the offence- it is fair.…read more


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