Functions Crime and Punishment Serve for Durkheim

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Functions Crime and Punishment Serve for Durkheim

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Q.5 What functions do crime and punishment serve for Durkheim? Give specific current examples in which crime and punishment serve social functions.

According to Durkheim, “punishment of a crime is due and caused by a collective sentiments that are offended by the crime and that the punishment is a functional for maintaining those sentiments not unless they are periodically activated and expressed through punishments, the sentiments will diminish in intensity” (Ritzer & Smart, 2001, p. 143).

Upon analyzing the statement of Durkheim, it is clear that criminal activities could damage peace and order within the society. Considering the fact that the victims of criminal activities are enough to trigger intense collective sentiments on the part of many people, it is necessary to punish people who are directly or indirectly engaged in criminal activities in order to heal the wounds that people who are affected by the crime are experiencing. Aiming to restore harmonious social and economic activities within the society, punishment of a crime serves as a strategic way to repair damages that criminal activities could cause in a society.

Recently, there is a syndicate in the Philippines who brutally killed and burned two car dealers after forcefully stealing motor vehicles from the owners (De Leon, 2011). Under the current Philippine law, criminals who steal cars can easily bail themselves out of prison (Lopez, 2011). Since car stealing syndicate will continuously move freely around the country to steal cars in different areas in Metro Manila, the sentiments and fear of many people increases. In order to make people feel safe and secured, the Philippine government is being challenged to change and categorize car stealing as a non-bailable crime. This option will serve as a lifetime punishment for serious and offensive crimes.

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De Leon, R. (2011, January 19). Philippine News Daily. Retrieved February 7, 2011, from Government to Hunt and Eradicate the Vicious Carnap-Sunog Gang:

Lopez, V. (2011, January 22). Sun Star. Retrieved February 7, 2011, from Palace mum on carnapping as non-bailable crime:

Ritzer, G., & Smart, B. (2001). Handbook of social theory. Sage Publishing.

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