Against ‘Punishment’

The issues surrounding the institution of punishment have been brought to a new light with rising popular distrust in government. The question must be raised why we believe that it is permissible for the state to punish those who engage in certain form of behavior. It is argued in this paper that even if those who break the law are responsible for their actions, the idea that it is permissible for the state to punish is fundamentally flawed, and even the term ‘punishment’ should not be applicable. The idea is not new, as the term ‘punishment’ was dropped from the Criminal Code at the inception of the Soviet Union for some time. However, simply eliminating the term altogether and replacing it with something different does not solve the substance of the problems associated with it. It is argued that not only the term ‘punishment’ goes fundamentally beyond the legitimate purposes of criminal law, but also that the practice itself of punishing for breaking the law must cease to exist.