Exam Board Checklist
Students must be able to explain contrasting beliefs on the following three issues with reference to the main religious tradition in Britain (Christianity) and one or more other religious traditions:
Religious views on law and order
Aims of Punishment
Protection - keeping the public safe, to prevent them from harm. This could involve sending someone to prison or tagging them to monitor their movement. This would be used for dangerous criminals such as murders, rapists, drug dealers, terrorists
Retribution - equal punishment for the crime, getting your own back, almost like revenge. This is best summed up by the quote 'an eye for an eye'. If you murder, you should be executed
Deterrence - to put people off committing crimes. Punishments should be harsh e.g. prison should be a horrible experience so that criminals do not want to go back. Some societies have public executions or corporeal punishment to act as a warning to others
Reformation - To change someones behaviour for the better. Possible through community service order, therapy e.g. anger management or drug treatment, offering education and training in prisons
Vindication - Offenders must be punished to show that the law must be respected. This is to ensure that there is order in society e.g. fines for parking or speeding
Reparation - designed to help the offender put something back into society. Someone who breaks the law must make amends and compensate their victim or society e.g. through community service.
Types and Causes of Crime
CAUSES OF CRIME
SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL
Peer pressure, greed, to fund an addiction to drugs, poor upbringing, need to money due to unemployment, gang culture, living in a deprived area, mental illness
TYPES OF CRIME
AGAINST A PERSON - crime directed against an individual or group e.g. murder, assault
AGAINST PROPERTY - taking/damaging someone's belongings e.g. burglary, theft, criminal damage (vandalism)
AGAINST THE STATE - undermines the authority of the government e.g. terrorism, tax evasion, speeding
A religious offence is an offence against religion. They may or may not be classified as crime. Religions have their own sets of laws and rules and breaking them would be seen by members of that faith as a religious offence or sin (breaking of a religious or moral law) e.g. for Christians and Jews, the 10th Commandment says ‘You shall not covet (desire) your neighbour’s house/wife/servant/ox or donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbour’. This is not a criminal offence, although believers would regard it as a sin. However, this breaks the 8th Commandment (‘You shall not steal’) and also the state law. Another religious offence is blasphemy (illegal in some countries e.g. Pakistan, Italy and Ireland). Blasphemy includes insulting God or sacred things and the making of images of God.
Loss of freedom
Offers protection for society
Focus on reformation – education, training and therapy for drugs etc.
Could get access to chaplains to help them change for the better
Cost (£30,000 a year per prisoner)
Hostile and overcrowded
Viewed as colleges of crime as criminals make links with other criminals
Reoffending rates suggest it does not work
Physical punishment is punishment intended to cause physical pain on a person.
In Shariah Law it is allowed for stealing as the Qur'an states: “As to the thief… cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example”. Those in favour of corporal punishment argue that it is a cheap way of punishing effectively and it can deter others as it is carried out publicly. Others who disagree with corporal punishment claim that it would create a society in which violence is not only accepted by encouraged as it is a punishment focused on getting revenge. Some argue that it destroys one of the basic human rights of integrity of the body and it desensitises the person carrying out the punishment and encourages a lack of compassion. A Christian may argue that it does not focus on reformation/helping the criminal to change and become a functioning member of society and therefore does not reflect the Christian teaching of love and compassion.
Often called community pay back. A punishment given if criminal is convicted of a crime but are not sent to prison. This is unpaid work in the local community. This punishment would be given for less serious crimes such as danging property or drink driving. It is seen as more positive than prison, allowing a person to carry on working and do their community service in the evenings. Usually high-visibility yellow vests are worn and punishment time can be between 40-300 hours. Organised properly, this type of punishment aims to reform. Community can also benefit with damage being repaired. Prison can mean mixing with individuals far worse than them and therefore can have a negative influence. Some people view this type of punishment as too easy or 'soft'.
Whilst forgiveness is a quality of Allah, it is conditional. A human must be sorry, recognise the wrong, commit to not repeat it, and seek forgiveness. Without these conditions, forgiveness cannot be given.
Humans can not forgive sins.
In order for us to be forgiven we first have to repent and be sorry for our sins and wrong doing.
We cannot be forgiven unless we recognise our need to be forgiven.
CHRISTIANITY.... It's in the Bible! "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed" Genesis 9:6. In the Old Testament it specifies 36 capital offences including crimes such as idolatry, magic and blasphemy, as well as murder that should be punished by the death penalty. The New Testament however does focus on forgiveness and therefore this suggests the death penalty is unacceptable. However in Matthew 7:2 we read "Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you" and for hundreds of years Christianity has supported the use of the death penalty.
There are lots of Christian arguments against the death penalty including:
Islam on the whole accepts capital punishment as the Qur'an states "Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice". Methods of execution in Islamic countries vary and can include beheading, firing squad, hanging and stoning. In some countries public executions are carried out to heighten the element of deterrence. Islamic countries that practise a very strict Shariah law are associated with the use of capital punishment as retribution for a variety of crimes including adultery, apostasy and murder. But even though the death penalty is allowed, forgiveness is preferable. Forgiveness, together with peace, is a predominant Qur'anic theme. This is why in Islam they have the concept of Blood Money, a form of compensation that the victims family can choose over the death penalty.