Create a 7 pages page paper that discusses a consideration of prison ethics: punishment vs. rehabilitation.
At present the ideology in terms of punishment in American society at least is retributive. This stemmed from a mid-20th-century debate between the merits of rehabilitation and a form of fixed sentences that was uniform (and therefore fair) and applied to everybody. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and subsequent political acts took care of that and has been adhered to the present day. The philosophy behind this legislation is that rehabilitation is not effective for all individuals and therefore society needs to be protected from individuals who do wrong (against others or property) with the best way of doing that perceived as being incarceration or incapacitation (Zimring).
One of the main issues in determining ethical ways of dealing with wrongdoers is that there needs to be an established set of roles and definitions that work within society to provide a system that all potential criminals are subject to. Rawls for example noted that defining punishment was not the same as justifying punishment. Justifying the use of prisons should be separate from any act of punishment (committing a person to such place). and that the practice of punishment must be justified through either forward-thinking (consequentiality), or backward thinking (deontological).
Based on his (and others) ideas it is generally agreed now that while the act of punishment might be the cause of some debate in terms of harshness and appropriateness, the justification for punishment is assumed. Secondly, that the justification for punishment comes from both consequential and deontological considerations.There are a number of reasons why punishment needs to be justified. Firstly punishment is a man-made action – it is not a natural fact and does not exist outside of the human experience.
Therefore the rules that govern such action (humans on humans) are ones that should be considered ideal within society. Punishment as such is something that we as a human society decide to have and maintain within our society – it is a choice and as such could be done without.