Imprisonment, as a major form of punishment to control increasing rate of crime and establish the rule of law in society, has been acknowledged by social scientists, criminologists, jurists and administrative systems since inception of human civilization. Social scientists,…
orms of punishment are introduced, according to jurisprudential rational, to control such rate of crime and protect the basic rights of common people within a socio-cultural context. According to the varying degrees regarding seriousness of crime commission, various types of punishments are offered to offenders, namely, “condemnation, fines, probation, imprisonment, or death” and legislative system of a particular society provides actual directives that what type of punishment can be offered for a specific form of crime. Imprisonment is widely regarded, perhaps, as the “strongest form of punishment” after death penalty and mostly offered to people accused of culpable offences (Coughlin, 1991, p. 54).
Tony Lawson and Joan Garrod have attempted to define imprisonment in the book Dictionary for Sociology, as, “…the incarnation of those convicted of certain types of crime. Also in prison are those held “on remand,”- i.e. accused of a serious crime and awaiting a trial. Different societies hold different views regarding the purpose of imprisonment, with the result that the proportion of the population in prison at any one time varies widely among different societies” (Lawson, and Garrod, 2001, p. 117-118). This definition becomes important in the context of discussion as it encompasses within its scope both legal and social perspectives. In the first part, the authors have defined what imprisonment is from legal perspective. Second part of the definition focuses on social aspects that purpose and reason for imprisonment differs in different societies; thus, society has an important role to play when it comes to nature of imprisonment or establishing the criteria regarding magnitude of crime so that a person is sentenced for imprisonment.
According to magnitude of crime, punishment can be categorized in several forms, namely, capital punishment, imprisonment, probation, fines, restitution and community service, and restorative justice (Gaines, and ...
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