Crime and Punishment

- Religious beliefs and teachings

- Statistics

- The law

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The Fall

Humanity fell from a state of grace to a state of sin and imperfection.

(Eve was tempted, tempted Adam too, both eat apple from tree that God had forbidden).

This shows us that humans are:

  • Persuaded/tempted
  • Greedy/desire power and knowledge
  • Humans break rules
  • Curious

Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden, death came to exist, pain during childbirth, sin on earth.

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Would a religious person break the law?

  • Yes, sometimes a person may belive their religion is more important than the law, and commit crime (e.g.extremists).
  • Yes,Martin Luther king broke the segregation law, it did not follow his beliefs and he thought the law was unfair.
  • No, law helps society (equality etc.)
  • No, people may choose law over religion - fear of punishment?
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Religious People - Right and Wrong

- Holy texts

  • Interpretations
  • Applying to scenarios

- Conscience

  • Right and wrong

- State law

- Culture and society

- Consequences and impact on others

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Christian Beliefs and Teachings

Reform must be Balanced with Vindication, Deterrence, Protection, Retribution (ie.justice).

  • God punishes Adam and Eve fore disobeying him and being tempted to eat the apple. As a result, there is child labour, pain, sin etc. on earth. (OT)
  • 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven out debtors.' -  Forgive if those who wrong you are truly sorry. (NT)
  • 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise'. - Give people what they deserve. (OT)

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Christian Beliefs and Teachings

Emphasise Forgiveness and Repentance

  •  Jesus said 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. - you cannot immediately judge, you have sinned yourself. (NT)
  • 'So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them'. - Tell someone if they have wronged you, but also why. If they are truly sorry, forgive them. (NT)
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Islam Teachings & Beliefs

Islam means submission to Allah, so Allah always comes first. Muslims are expected too bey the laws of the country they live in unless they:

  • Prevent a person practising Islam or are attacking Muslims
  • To put right an injustice

When this happens Muslims have a duty to break the law. Must be non - violent protest, violence used only as last resort.

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Islam Teachings & Beliefs

Muslim attitudes towards the aims of punishment

Key idea = deter and ensure retribution (to punish). Criminals will reform because the punishments are so harsh. Only Allah can forgive so this is not an aim for Islamic courts.

  • 'The reward for an injury is an equal injury back; but if a person forgives instead, and is reconciled, that will earn reward from Allah.'
  • Justice must be in public - the trial and the punishment. This ensures there can be no miscarriage of justice and punishing in public deters others.
  • The Quar'an says punishment for theft = hand cut off
  • The Quar'an says the punishment for adultery = 100 lashes
  • Don't forget judgement day! Every crime is a sin against Allah.
  • Many Muslim countries have very harsh penalties for alcohol and drug use. Link to what you now from drugs, alcohol and smoking topic. Prisons are used by Muslim countries for anti - social crimes.
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Causes of Crime - Social Reasons

  • Surveys show that a vast majority of young people who end up in prison have been exlucded from school so they lack education and qualifications.
  • No money and guidance, leads to crime.
  • Lawbreaking may make them feel important, acquiring possesions may make them feel like they have achieved something. 
  • Abusive and violent parents and broken homes may provide poor role models and leave children ignorant of acceptable behaviour.
  • Hanging around the streets and estates looking for something to do leads to boredom. 
  • Criminal activity offers excitement.
  • Feeling isolated can be a reason for someone wanting to get revenge on society.
  • Drugs, alcohol and smoking, gambling may be financed  through shoplifting, burglary, prostitution etc, 
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Cause of Crime - Psychological Reasons

  • 72 % males and 70% females suffer from two or more mental diorders, compared to 5% male and 2% females out of prison.
  • 50% male and 47% female ran away from home (prisoners), compared to 11% in general.
  • Some people would argue that human nature is naturally greedy and selfish, and some will do anything to gain power. They would say that advertising encourages this approach.
  • Many criminologists believe that violence on television can influence people to try and copy it.
  • Genes may influence crime.
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Causes of Crime - Environmental Reasons

  • Times of unemployment, crime rate appears to rise.
  • Rivalry between gangs has led to people carrying knives and guns. Pressure to join such groups and retaliation against other gangs leads to more trouble.
  • Broken windown theory - you are profoundly affected by your environment. You are more liekyl to commit crime in an area that appears uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
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Causes of Crime - Religious Reasons

  • Martin Luther King has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
  • Studies show that those who go to churchare less likely to dodge train fares, not complete homework etc. So less likely to commit crime? - Do no want to be judged by society.
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Aims of Punishment - Protection

  • Protection of potential victims from criminal activities. Sending a person to prison keeps them away from the oppurtunity  of crime and so protects society.
  • For example, murderers, rapists, paedophiles, drug dealers and terrorists may be locked away due to the danger they pose to the public. 
  • If they were not in prison people would be fearful.
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Aims of Punishment - Retribution

  • 'Getting even' with the person who has commited the crime
  • Revenge, gives the criminal what they deserve
  • May help victim overcome resentment
  • Early form of retribution was based on lex talinos (the law of retaliation). Criminals would receive an equal punishment preciselt to those injuries and damages inflicted upon victim
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Aims of Punishment - Deterence

  • Some potential criminals may be put off commiting a crime if they believe that they will be caught
  • Criminals who are caught are made an example of to persuade people not to live a life of crime
  • Muslim societies: beating for punishment acts as a deterrence
  • Some USA states: death penalties
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Aims of Punishment - Reformation

  • People who have commited crimes may require to help to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable and that they need to change their attitude and become responsible for members of society (to reform)
  • Reformation: Turning criminals into law abiding citizens
  • For the criminal, the process may include regret/repentance
  • Group therapy - crime is discussed and analysed, meeting with victim etc.
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Aims of Punishment - Vindication

  • It is important because if people did not respect the law, then they would do exactly what they wanted, resulting in a breakdown of law.
  • Laws are made in a way to help people live in a way that will not damage the environment, other people and themselves.
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Aims of Punishment - Reparation

  • Offender is asked to do something to make up for the crime commited. e.g. community services, fines
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For prison:

  • It protects the public

Against prison:

  • People can reoffend

Prison population at 85,495 in England and Wales, 2,000 of its full capacity

Justice secretary Kenneth Clark has said numbers are too high and he wants a greater emphasis placed on rehabilitation and community sentences. He also says locking people up for the sake of it is a waste of public funds.

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The Prison Reform Trust

The state of our prisons is a fair measure of the state of our society, the prison reform trust works to ensure that they are just, humane and effective.

  • Prison should be reserved for those whose reoffending is so serious that they cannot serve their sentence in the community.
  • It is not right to use prison as gateway to services or treatments, or atteot to use prison in place of effective crim prevention.
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Howard League for Penal Reform

  • A national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  • Campaign on a wide range of issues including short term prison sentences, real work in prison, children in prison and community sentences.
  • Prison is an ineffective way of reducing crime.
  • Prisons do little to help people make amends for what they have done and change lives.
  • Work with parliament and the media, with criminal justice professionals, students and members of the public, influencing debate and forcing through meaningful change to create safer communities.
  • Too much money is spent on a penal system which does not work, does not make our communities safer and fails to reduce offending
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The Death Penalty

  • Used from 5th century
  • Last one in 1964
  • Abolished in 1965


  • US common - lethal injection
  • Other - hanging, stoning, firing
  • Sharia law - stoning for adultery

Death Row vs Prison

  • Death Row - Isolation, limited freedom
  • Prison - People
  • In the US, for example, death penalty is expensive and as it is thoroughly investigated as to whether or not the person is innocent.
  • But in some countries this is not done


  • 128 couteis abolished death sentence
  • 69 retain
  • Top - China, Saudi Arabia, USA
  • Chine - approximately 1770 per year, very secret, sometimes the family does not even know.
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Capital Punishment - For

  • Could act as a deterrence for severe crimes.
  • Retribution - terrorists and murderers deserve to die 'a life for a life'.
  • Protection - public needs to be protected. But, those given a life sentence are often let out of prison after 15 years.
  • Finance - it costs taxpayers thousands of pounds to keep murderers alive in prison.
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Capital Punishment - Against

  • Inhuman.
  • Mistakes - innocent have been executed
  • Protection - putting a murderer in prison protects society.
  • Deterrence - no evidence that death penalty is more of a deterrent than life imprisonment.
  • Reformation - Reformed criminals can be an enormous influence for good.
  • Right - only God has the right to end a person's life
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Young Offenders

If a young person commits a minor offence, they can be dealt with without being sent to court; for example the police cn use reprimands , final warnings, ASBOs or child safety orders. The aim is to prevent further offending and to give support at an early age.

Forms of secure accomodation:

  1. Secure training center - Focus on education and rehabilitation.
  2. Secure childrens home - Run by local authority social services department, focus on attending the physical, emotional and behavioural needs of the young people they accomodate.
  3. Young offender institution - Run by prison service and accomodate 15 - 21 year olds. Those under 18 are held in seperate juvenile wings. 
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Youth For Christ

Young people have the highest re - conviction rate - 7/10 reoffend within one year in England and Wales. There are about 10,000 young people 12 - 24 in prison. Most of these young offenders feel trapped. Not only do they have to convince others to give them a chance, but they also have to overcome self doubt and immense peer pressure.

Youth For Christ aims:

  • Train youth workers, from churches to charities, to become positive role models in prison.
  • They communicate the Christian faith in four ways: Demonstrate, Declare, Decision and Disciple (four D's).
  • Aim to raise the aspirations and self - esteem of young people and empower them with the skills, confidence and chracter they'll need to realise their full potential.
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Religious Offences

Blasphemy - The action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things. Great disrespect shown to God or something holy.

Sacrilege - Violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred.

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Religious Offences - Punishment

Why should religious offences be punished harshly?

  • Could deter others from commiting the same offence, protects society.
  • Religious offences against God shouls be taken seriously.
  • Attacking someones faith is offensive to them, strong punishment encourages tolerance of religion.
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Religious Offences - Punishment

Why should religious offences not be punished harshly?

  • Freedom of speech should allow blasphemy.
  • Religious offences are between an individual and God, so only God should be able to punish.
  • Religious offences are not important as God does not exist.
  • Many religious offences don't break state law.
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Crime against the person - Directed against an individual or a group of people.

  • Murder
  • Assualt 
  • Rape

Crime against the property - Crimes of dishonesty, such as:

  • Burglary
  • Vechicle theft, shoplifting
  • Film and music piracy, account for nearly half the total number of offences.

Also: criminal damage, arson, vandalism

Crime against the state (a country) - 

  • Terrorist activities,
  • Selling secrets to another nation (e.g. military documents)
  • False accounting in order to deceive the tax office so that less tax is demanded.
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  • 30,000 crimes commited in England and Wales every day.
  • 100,000 persistent criminals are responsible for 50% of UK crime.
  • The UK has had more prisoners per head of population than any other European country.
  • Community service for 1 person costs £3,000 a year.
  • Prison costs £50,000 for 1 person a year.
  • Men are 7 time more likely to commit crime than women.
  • Most crime is commited by people under the age of 25.
  • According to the latest crime figures (Oct 2014), crime rates are falling in the UK.
  • Rape had the biggest increase in the past uear in the UK.
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Type of Punishment - Prison


  • Assaults on staff rose by 12% up to June 2014.
  • April 2011 - March 2012 - 600,000 adult and juvenile reoffenders.


  • Protects society from dangerous criminals.
  • Punishes criminals.


  • Costs a lot of money for taxpayers.
  • Reoffending rates are high.
  • Prisoners learn 'tricks of trade' in prison, increases criminal earning potential and reduces chance of being caught again.
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Type of Punishment - Community Service


  • £2,800 to administer a community sentence.
  • 36% reoffending rates.


  • Lower reoffending rates tha prison.
  • Less expensive than prison.
  • May deter the person from commiting the crime again.


  • Criminal 'gets of easy'.
  • May not deter
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Type of Punishment - ASBO


  • Between 1999 - 2013, 24,427 ASBOs issued.
  • Juveniles = 42% of ASBOs breached.


  • Shames and deters.
  • Teaches right from wrong.


  • Offenders may wear it as a 'badge of honour'.
  • May not deter.
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Type of Punishment - Fine


  • Max fine in magistrate court is £5,000, but unlimited in crown court.
  • 2011, 66% of all offenders were fined.


  • Financial damage, so deters.


  • Some may still be willing to reoffend.
  • Some could easily afford the fine.
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Type of Punishment - Tagging/Curfew 7pm - 7am


  • 2014 Article Mail Online: approximately 80,000 criminals are tagged every year in the UK
  • 2006 - 90 day curfew costs £1,300 vs £6,500 for same period of custody.


  • Many who are tagged gain a new sense of structure and discipline.


  • Little done to prevent reoffending during the day.
  • Can be breached.
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Type of Punishment - Restorative Justice


  • Research shows that over 85% of victims of crime are satisfied or very satisfied with restorative justice, contrasting strongly with the low number satisfied with their treatment in the traditional criminal justice sytem.
  • Reduced desire amongst crime victims for violent revenge against their offenders.


  • For offender - make amends, can learn from experience.
  • For victime - Chance to be eard and understood, able to express the impact of the crime - losses and harm.


  • May have no effect on the offender (emotionally).
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Type of Punishment - Corporal/Physical


  • 32 countries have banned corporal punishment.
  • 166 countried still allow corporal punishment.


  • Deters future potential criminals from commiting crime.
  • Could argue that pain is what the offender deserves.


  • Could be argued that it is not very civilised.
  • Very painful.
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Type of Punishment - Suspended Sentence (Probation


  • In 2011/12, the average cost for each suspended sentence/probation supervised was £4,135. The cost per offender supervised on license post - custody was £2,380. The cost of writing a pre - sentence report was just £215. These figures compare very favourably with the avergae cost of providing a prison place for the year, which is £37,648.


  • Cheaper than prison.
  • Gives the offender another chance.


  • No direct/immediate punishment given.
  • Could offend again.
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Life Imprisonment - Life Sentence

  • Life sentence does not mean life.
  • Given for serious offences , e.g. murder, ****.
  • UK - generally 15 years, though can be higher depending on crime.

Age ranges

  • 21 and over - Life sentence
  • 18 - 20 - Custody for life
  • >18 - Detention during Her Majesty's pleasure for murder, or detention for life for other where it is life imprisonment for adults.
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Life Imprisonment - Whole Life Term

Whole Life Term

  • There's no minimum term set by the judge, and the person is never considered for release

David Cameron says 'life should be life', as the government considers US style 100 year prison sentence for murderers and serious offenders. Currently 52 criminals in England and Wales serving whole - life prison terms. 100 year prison sentence would potentially allow criminals to have their sentences reviewed and reduced.

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