Why is punishment needed in society?

In our society, we reward a man who does good deeds. We give prizes and awards to a student who does all good actions, right behaviour by following discipline. Thus if an action of a man is right we praise, if it is wrong, we censure it or punish the man. Just as a man is rewarded for his good deeds, similarly one should be punished for one’s evil deeds and actions.

Human being is rational and therefore he is more free and capable of choosing his acts. He is responsible for the fruits that are to follow from the selection of his acts. Because man chooses voluntarily evil act or because he chooses to violate the moral law for ulterior motive, he should be punished. We punish a criminal not to give him pain but to improve him, prevent him and reform him. Thus, the aim of punishment is better and hence punishment is justifiable.

Punishment is often known as a kind of negative reward paid to the criminal. Because if we do not punish the criminal, then there will be no harmony, equity and uniformity in society. There will remain no respect for moral laws and moral persons. Moral laws will look like a type of advice possessing no value. Therefore in order to preserve the majesty, supremacy, authority and dignity of moral laws – a criminal should be punished because an offender deliberately violates the moral law and disregards the authority and supremacy of moral laws.

The offender is ought to be punished from ethical view point. Punishment will make him aware of the dignity and majesty of moral laws. Hence from the ethical point of view, our desire is to improve him by vindicating the majesty and supremacy of moral laws. Therefore we can say that punishment is ethical justifiable.

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