Beccaria on Crimes and Punishments

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Beccaria On Crimes and Punishments Beccaria argues that punishment is justified only if it is necessary, and is tyrannical if the punishment doesn’t derive from necessity. The type of punishment chosen should serve the greatest public good and if the punishment is excessively severe, then it goes against what is justice. Prostitution for example is seen differently in many countries, in Afghanistan women who took part in adultery like were stoned to death.

Looking at Beccaria’s argument, that particular is punishment is too severe and goes against justice. Prostitution is illegal in the United States, but it depends on the individual state what the punishment is. In California, it is a misdemeanor for the prostitute and the customer, but is a felony for a pimp or brothel owner. It is more severe for the ones that can take control of the woman and abuse them if they don’t bring in more cash, and since there are no work unions for prostitution there is nothing can protect them from their working environment.

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Since the punishment is greater for the pimps and brothel owners then it will discourage some from staying in that line of business but the ones that are engaging in the sexual activity have lesser punishment and might take the risk again. Beccaria says the purpose of punishment is not to harm the individual but to persuade the individual from harming anyone and to keep people form following in their footsteps. Some people argue that prostitution should be legal, but it should remain illegal since it causes harm not only to the prostitute but the others in society.

We also have to take into consideration what the measure of the crime is, and how it harms society. Prostitution can lead to a spread of sexual transmitted diseases, prostitutes can be infected and infect their customers and their customers can infect their spouses. It is a danger to women, this type of work exposes them to the possibility of getting raped and in severe cases there have been cases where prostitutes are hunted by serial killers, for example, Jack The Riper. Just because prostitution is one of the oldest professions, doesn’t mean it should still be part of society.

The punishment should have an impression that lasts the most and does less harm to the body of the individual. There should be a proportion of crimes and punishments so the obstacles of achieving a crime are greater and thus discourages people from engaging in criminal activity. If people want to tackle such horrible crimes like human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution, I believe the punishment should remain tough on the pimps and brothel owners but shouldn’t be so lenient towards the prostitute and the customer.

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Beccaria on Crimes and Punishments. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from

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