The main purpose and object of criminal justice is to punish the wrongdoer (offender) and to maintain law and order in society. It is the State which punishes the Criminal. Punishment necessarily implies some kinds of pain inflicted upon the offender or loss caused to him for his criminal act which may either be intended to deter him from repeating the crime or maybe an expression of society disapprobation for his Anti Social conduct or it may also be directed to reform and regenerate him and at the time ported the society from criminals.

Meaning of punishment 

        Punishment is the process by which the State inflicts some pain to a person or property of a person who is found guilty of a crime. Punishment is one of the oldest methods of controlling crime and criminality. The history of the early penal system in different parts of the world reveals that the punishments were cruel and barbaric in nature.

Kinds/ Types of Punishments

Types of Punishment are as follows -

1) Capital Punishment / Death Penalty -

     In the history of punishment, capital punishment/death penalty has always occupied and very important place. In ancient times and even in the middle age, sentencing of offenders to death was very common kind of punishment. Even for what might be considered as minor offenses in Modern Times, death penalty was imposed. Death sentence has always been used as an effective punishment for murderers and dangerous offenders. It has both deterrent and preventive effect. The justification advanced in support of capital punishment is that it is lawful to forfeit the life of a person who takes away another's life. The killer deserves execution under this mode of punishment, legal vengeance solidifies and social solidarity against lawbreakers and therefore it is legally justified.
     The Mughal rulers in India also made use of death penalty to eliminate unwanted criminals. They used crudest methods for execution of death sentence. However, with the British rule in India, this inhuman and barbaric method of execution where abolished and death by hanging remained the only mode of inflicting death sentence.
       It is the most serious nature of punishment. Some countries abolished it. Capital punishment/death penalty awarded in India is certain exceptional cases. The offenses which are punishable with the death sentence under the Indian Penal Code.

2) Deportation - 

     Another way of punishment is the deportation of corrigible or dangerous offenders. Deportation of criminals is also called banishment. Corrigible and hardened criminals where generally clamored to far off places with a view to eliminating them from the community. In England, war criminals there usually transported to distant Astro-African British colonies.
    In India, this method also known as transportation, popularly known as Kalapani. The practice was abolished in 1995. It still persists in Mini-form popularly called as externment. The object of externment offender is to dissociate him from his surroundings so as to reduce his capacity to commit crime. This form of punishment has been incorporated in the penal law of India

3) Corporal punishment - 

        Corporal punishment was very common until late 18th century.  Corporal punishment includes modulation, flogging (or whipping) and torture etc.

(a) Flogging -

        Dictionary meaning of word flogging means, "to whip or to beat with strap/stick as punishment. In middle ages, Whipping was the commonest form of punishment.The instruments and methods of flogging differ from country to country. In Russia instrument used for blogging was constructed of a number of dried and hardened thongs was construed of rawhide, interspersed with wires having hooks in their ends, which could enter and tear the flesh of the Criminal. It has now been discontinued being barbarous and cruel in form. The main object of this kind of punishment is the deterrence. However, critics. point out that this kind of punishment is not only inhuman but also ineffective. It did not serve any useful purpose in case of hardened criminals and recidivists. However, it proved d effective in case of minor offenses like it eye-teaing, drunkenness, vagrancy etc
     In India, whipping was recognized as a mode of punishment under the Whipping Act, 1864 which was repeated and replaced by a similar act in1909 and the same was abolished in the year 1955.

(b) Mutilation - 

        Mutilation is another kind of corporal punishment. It is prevalent during eminent Hindu Period. In case of theft, one or both the hands the offender were chopped off and in case of sex offenses, his private part was cut off. The justification advanced in support of mutilation was that it served as an effective measure of deterrence and prevention. This mode of punishment as well has been completely discarded being barbaric in nature This system was in practice in England, Denmark and many other European countries as well.

(c) Branding -

          In this type of punishment, criminals were branded with the appropriate mark on the forehead so that they would be identified and subjected to public Ridicule. For example, if a person found guilty of theft, the word 'theft' or 'T' it is branded on his forehead and the public would call him theft. In England, branding was practiced till 1829.  finally, it was abolished by an Act of Parliament. In India branding was prevalent during the Mughal rule in its crudest form and was abolished later.

(d) Chaining- 

         Chaining the offenders together was also commonly used as a mode of punishment. Their liberty and mobility was thus completely restricted. The hands and legs of criminals were tied with iron rods and Chained together. This method is now being sparingly used in the present prison system.

(e) Pillory -

     Pillory was yet another form of cruel and barbaric corporal punishment. It was in practice till 19th century. Hardened criminals and dangerous offenders were nailed in walls and shot or stoned to death. There is no doubt that this type of punishment was more cruel and brutal in form and therefore it has no place in the modern penal system. The system of pillory existed slightly in the different form during the Mughal rule in India. It is still used as a mode of punishment for sex offenders in Islamic countries which take offense against women very seriously

4) Fine and confiscation of property - 

        This type of punishment was imposed for offenses which were not serious in nature and were punished with the fine. This type of punishment was especially used for offenses involving the breach of traffic and revenue laws. It is considered as an appropriate punishment for minor offenses and crimes related to the property. Financial penalty may either be in form of fine or compensation or costs.

5) Imprisonment -

        Another form of punishment is imprisonment.   Imprisonment represents a most simple and common punishment which is used all around the world. If properly administered, imprisonment can serve all the three objects of punishment. It may be deterrent because it makes an example of the offender to others. It may be preventative because imprisonment disables the offender, at least for some time, for repeating the offense. If properly used, it might give opportunities for reformatting the character of the accused.
       Conditions of imprisonment in civilized countries have undergone radical changes in recent decades. Alternative devices such as open jail and prison hostel are being extensively used as the modified form of prisons for incarceration of offenders.

6) Solitary Confinement - 

         Another kind of punishment is solitary confinement. This punishment may be considered as an aggravated form of imprisonment. In this type of punishment, convicts are confined in solitary prison-cells without any contact with their follow prisons.
         Solitary confinement which was introduced in the United States Pennsylvanian prison in 1770 had to be replaced by the Auburn system in 1819 in which prisoners were taken out to work together in Silence.  Experience had shown that many of the prisons undergoing the sentence of solitary confinement died in prisons and many more returned insane and those who survived turned more hostile and dangerous in society.

   Section 73 and 74 of the Indian Penal Code lay down the limits beyond which solitary confinement cannot be imposed in India. The total period of solitary confinement cannot exceed 3 months in any case. It cannot exceed 14 days at a time with intervals of 14 days in between or 7 days at a time in with 7 days interval in between.

7) Indeterminate Punishment - 

     Another kind of imprisonment is indeterminate sentence. In this case, the accusative is not sentenced to imprisonment for any fixed period. The period is left determinant at the time of the award. When the accused show's improvement, the sentence may be terminated.

8) Stoning - 

   The punishment of stoning is barbaric in nature. It was in practice during the medieval period. In Islamic countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia offenders found guilty of sex were punished by stoning to Death. Though this type of punishment is barbaric in nature due to its editor and effect, sex crimes against women are well under control of these countries.

See also 

Theories of Punishment

Punishments under the Indian Penal Code,1860


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