The Penalty Dilemma

Crime can be defined as any behaviour that is considered to disrupt the social order and peace of a community. For the public’s sake, there should be some type of restrictions for preventing the crimes. This is why we have laws – to dicipline those who are menace to society. But the laws aren’t always comprehensive enough to satisfy the understanding of “justice” at all terms.

We have moral values as a member of a community that guide us to make a judgement – that way we can evaluate what is socially acceptable or not. Unfortunately, our moral values cause the sense of justice to be blurry, indefinite and subjective. In countries such as USA, this is causing a major problem as they have jury that give the call whether to find a convict guilty or not. And as you may think, not always it is that twelve jurors give the same call.

This is why in a majority of the countries, the call for setting a man free or not is only restricted with constitutions and judges. But does it really make a difference when moral values aren’t directly involved while prosecuting a case? If the law does not entail adequate punishment, can justice really be served?

The dosage of the punishment seem to well-fit to a felon is highly sensitive. Punishments which are considered to be “not enough” would create public panic and disbelief in the system of justice. As an example, it may also cause victims not to come forward for what happened to them – in cases of sexual assault. On the other hand, if the penalty is considered to be “cruel” then rebellions against the government may arise. In cases of mistakes, innocent people can be punished undeservedly, and sometimes there wouldn’t be a way to reverse it. So, which one is the worse, letting a killer walk away or executing a falsely-accused man who was actually not guilty?

These dilemmas that put moral decisions into question always bring with them secondary questions: do the laws have to be strict to maintain peace and order? In my opinion, the rebellion is always a fact to keep in mind while looking at both scenerios- as the results may not be accepted as a whole concept. But, the predominant side is to apply heavy and strict penalties. Because, if done otherwise than there is a great chance that people will take justice in own hands- which would cause nothing but chaos.

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