Read Item B Below and answer the question that follows.
Punishment of offenders is seen by some sociologists as vital to maintaining social solidarity, by showing people the consequences of breaking the norms of society. Other sociologists see punishment as one way in which those in power are able to exert their authority.
The forms of punishment will vary between different societies and may change over time. An example of a change is the move in some societies from public execution to life imprisonment for the punishment of murderers.
The punishment of offenders may also vary depending on the desired outcome of the punishment. Punishments may act as a deterrent or as a form of rehabilitation.
02 - Using material from Item B and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of the functions and forms of the punishment of offenders. [21 marks]
Some realists would argue that the punishment of offenders is designed to carry out a number of purposes. First, giving the victim, or the victims family (indirect victims) a sense of justice from the criminal justice system, and to maintain social solidarity, showing that crime is not tolerated and via this, most forms of deviance. Realists believe that crime is a real thing and that official statistics should be taken at face value, as such they call for tougher sentences to be given for more severe crimes, for example, taking a life receives a higher sentence than using a class C drug. Right Realists would argue that the system works as a form of deterrent and that with target hardening, the deterrence of prisons and other punishments will take precedence in the mind of a person considering their options, in accordance with the Rational Choice theory. A person will weigh up cost versus gain, and if they believe that the gain outweighs the cost, they will commit an act of deviance. They also believe biological differences are responsible for crime and deviance through studies which show criminals to have a lower intelligence and to just be acting on instinct. However; They’re criticised for contradicting themselves in that in one circumstance they believe people are biologically predisposed to commit crime, and then saying that they have free will and are rationally deciding what to do. They’re also criticised in that in studies of criminal IQs, there’s only ever been, at best, a 4% drop in IQ against that of a non-criminal from the same background. So, while Realists believe punishment acts as a deterrant, which it seemingly does not, as crimes are still committed, other believe punsihment isn’t motivated to deter potential criminals.
Marxists believe that the Bourgeoisie are continuously exploiting the working class and that they are only interested in profit of capital, because they own the means of production. The Bourgeoisie’s only political goals in society are self preservation, and…