Offenders' views on the meaning and severity of punishment Critical Review

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Criminology

Document 1

They, therefore, set out to find out what offenders viewed punishment to be in relation to rehabilitation, reducing crime and protection and reparation of the public-important components of punishment. They analyzed two empirical studies, in the form of structured interviews. In the two interviews, prisoners and probationers were interviewed to find out what they viewed punishment to be. They found out that just as they had suspected, there are, indeed varied individual differences in people’s perceptions of what punishment is within the system. These differences account for the implications for retributive proportionality. He also notes how not all offenders are judged the same considering the flaws of the system such as injustice. The author continuously develops an interesting argument by looking at various descriptions from the subjective and objective points of view before introducing his research methods.

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As the researcher moves from a description of a concept, he turns to his empirical methods through which he intends to define the same concept. He develops a methodology that explores the various aspects of punishment presented by subjective arguments. He finds two studies to work with. The studies seek to find out about the incarceration experience, rather than directly about the issue in question, what these people view as the description of punishment. Luckily, despite the fact that the study does not define what prisoners feel punishment to be, it still revolves around themes that help open the researcher’s eyes to punishment in different penal contexts. The researcher understands the point up to which a person in prison and one serving in the community as part of probation takes punishment positively and at which point they begin to consider it as restrictive and punitive.

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The researcher can explore how prisoners view hard punishment and how they think that punishment transforms their incarceration experience. The research is, therefore, eye-opening but does not directly tackle the question regarding what punishment is. These are vital in a qualitative study as they do not have a definite answer. They allow the respondent to be interactive and guides them towards giving definitive and informative answers that help in defining their experiences. This also allows the interviewer to explore the responses of these individuals further. This helps have a comprehensive interview that answers research questions and provides insight. Additionally, from samples of the answers that the participants were giving, it is clear that they were referring to real-life stories. The researcher was able to record various kinds of data, including how the prisoners behaved, their opinions, pain points and they could capture anything without being fully certain of how the data would have been useful.

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As Ginneken and Hayes did their research, this effect trickled down to them. They were able to relive the stories of the prisoners, and they can highlight how data relates to each other, rather than if quantitative methods would have been used. In this way, Ginneken and Hayes were also able to emphasize new features of the phenomenon rather than just have statistics that need interpretation. The sample provided for this research is also a small sample size that does not accurately represent the whole. The researchers were still, however, able to identify the various aspects that mattered most to prisoners and concluded that either, they saw it as prohibitive to freedom, hard treatment, and severity. Under these descriptions, it was easier for the researchers to understand the perception of these people to punishment.

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