Why does America Believe in Punishment?


  • Stella Daniels-Simpson John Jay College


The United States of America has one of the highest incarceration rates in the whole world, with a population of about 1 million people ass of 2022. As the prisons continue to get more and more full everyday, the levels of violence and disobedience still continues to increase in society. The only explanation for this increase in violence and disobedience although the prisons are becoming more crowded would be America's strong belief in punishment. Punishing those who disobey rules and regulations is a socially contracted norm that continued to be perpuated in our everyday society. Parents punish their children for bad behavior at home through beatens, placing their children on punishment and even time out. Teachers and other school staff in the education system punish students with detintion, or sometimes expelling them or suspending students who misbehave or have physical altecations with other students. Even the workplace place punishment on their employees if they don't follow the rules of the establishment they will be fired, or their position will be lowered due to disobedience. Punishment in the American soicety can be viewed in many different ways. However, the most influential and powerful forms of punishment is the prison system. In this paper, I will further explore how the concept of punishment impacts specific groups of people as well as explore why the American society believe in punishment overall.