Crime & Punishment

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Religious Teachings

John 8: Woman caught in adultery:

  • Christians should forgive those who have done wrong as everyone hs done wrong before 
  • People who are sorry should be forgiven-reform

Luke 23: Penitent Thief:

  • if you are sorry for the crimes you have committed, you will be forgiven and go to heaven
  • Criminals who are not sorry will go to hell

Matthew 6: The Lords Prayer:

  • Christians should forgive so that God will forgive them

Romans 13: Submission to Governing Authorities:

  • Respect the punishments that the government gives as they have been chosen by God
  • Disobeying authorities is disobeying God as he chose them
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Types Of Crime

Crimes against the Person:

  • Directed towards an individual or small group
  • ****, murder, assault, mugging

Crimes against Property:

  • Burglary, vehicle theft, shoplifting, arson

Crimes against the State:

  • Terrorist activities- selling military secrets, false accounting, treason

Religious Offences:

  • Not crimes which are punished by the law, but seen as crimes to religious believers
  • When an individual breaks the rules of their religion
  • Eg. If a muslim ate non- halal meat. 
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Aims of Punishment


  • Protecting the public from being harmed
  • Criminals may be locked away


  • Getting revenge on the criminal for their actions
  • Helps victim overcome their resentment


  • Some criminals may be put off from doing a crime if they are scared of the punishment
  • The death penalty may deter some criminals from committing murder or similar crimes


  • Changing the behaviour of criminals so they become respectable memebers of society
  • May attend therapy or do comminity work
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Aims of Punishment Part 2


  • Making sure that people who break the law will be punished accordingly
  • Shows that the law should be respected and upheld, even with minor crimes, eg. speeding


  • Making the offender do something in order to make up for their crime
  • Shoplofters may pay for the items they stole or vandals may clean up an area

Duty: A moral or legal obligation

Responsibility: A duty to care for or having control over something/ someone

Conscience: The inner feeling which tells you what you are doing is right or wrong

People should be brought up being taught what is right and wrong in order to have a strong conscience to stop committing crimes

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Causes of Crime

Social reasons:

  • Young people with criminal backgrounds may find it hard to find education or jobs, so turn to crime
  • Addicts may fund their addictions through criminal methods- stealing, prostitution etc.
  • Lawbreaking may give them a sense of excitement and adrenaline

Enviromental reasons:

  • People who are unemployed may find it difficult to find money, so turn to crime
  • Gang rivalry sparks more crimes

Psychological reasons:

  • Human nature is selfish and greedy and some people will use extreme methods to obtain weath/ power
  • Many who commit crimes suffer from mental health problems
  • Violence on TV can influence people to copy it
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Types of Punishment

Community Service:

  • Unpaid work that an offender completes for the benefit of the local community rather than going to prison
  • Cheaper than prison and the reform rates are higher
  • For lighter offences- antisocial behavious, not paying fines etc.

Electronic Tagging:

  • Tagging an offender with an electronic device which tracks their movements
  • Authorities are alerted if an offender leaves a certain region or is out of their house after a certain time


  • Money paid as punishment for the crimes
  • For less serious offences- speeding, parking etc.
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Types Of Punishment Part 2

ASBOs and ABCs:

  • A contract which states what the offender can and cannot do
  • Eg. curfew, cannot go past a certain point, must meet an offender every week etc.


  • An offender has to meet regularly with a probation officer to make sure they dont reoffend
  • Allows criminal to carry on normal life and hopefully reform without going to prison


  • When a criminal is locked up for committing a crime
  • Expensive and the reoffending rate is high
  • Can cause inmates to commit suicide
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Life Imprisonment & Parole


  • When a prisoner is released without completing their sentence because they have behaved well and accepted their guilt
  • Monitored after they leave to make sure they dont reoffend
  • Can lie to get out early- commit more crimes

Life Imprisonment:

  • Very few prisoners who actually spend their whole life in prison
  • Usually 15 year before prisoner is eligible for parole
  • Letting criminals out early may make public feel unsafe
  • Some have been wrongly sentenced
  • Could cause mental health issues (suicide) knowing they will never get out
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Early release & Prison reform

Early Release:

  • When a prisoner is let out without having completed their sentence
  • Dont need to meet with an officer- completely free
  • Dont have to be eligible for parole first
  • Can let out dangerous criminals

Prison Reform:

  • Many prisoners are reoffending when they get out- prison reform aims to stop this
  • Some believe that prison conditions should be made easier:
    • Criminals may be more likely to reform if in nicer conditions
    • Overcrowding can lead to sharing of skills & information
  • Some believe that prison conditions should be made harsher:
    • Harsher conditions may deter more people
    • Less luxuries means taxpayers have to pay less
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Capital Punishment- Death Penalty

  • Lethal Injection: Inmate is sedated then injected with a heart stopping drug
  • Electric Chair: Killing using electric shocks
  • Gas Chamber: Poisonous gas is leaked into a chamber


  • Retribution- Terrorists and murderers deserve to die- eye for eye
  • Deterrance- Stops criminals from fear of dying
  • Protection- The public should be protected- prison isnt enough as criminals can be let out
  • Finance- Costs taxpayers millions to keep murderers alive in prison


  • Mistakes- Innocent people have been killed
  • Protection- The public can be protected by prison
  • Deterrance- No evidence that capital punishment is more effective than prison
  • Reformation- Reformed criminals can provide faith in the government
  • Right- Only God has the right to end someone's life
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Young Offenders

  • Anyone who has broken the law who is under 18 is classified as a young offender
  • Less serious cases may result in fines or community service, but for harsher crimes, offenders may be sent to institutions

Young Offenders Institutions:

  • Hold 15-21 year olds, but under 18s are held in a different building to over 18s
  • Recieve education, learn skills and other activities
  • Include programs which look at behaviour, but not much individual support

Secure Training Centres:

  • Hold offenders up to 17
  • Recieve education and training, similar to school timetable
  • Recieve more individual support

Secure Children's Homes:

  • Hold offenders between 10-14
  • Follows a school timetable
  • Recieve a lot of individual support
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