“The purpose of the Criminal Justice System is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent.” – And it is to this extent that the importance of punishment can be stretched on to three horizons – the offender, the offended, and the society at large.
The offender ought to be punished not just to let him know that his crime would not be excused by the society but also to give him the much needed space and leisure for contemplation as well as for re-evaluation of his skills and intellect.
Legally authorized punishment assures the offended of justice to the point of preventing the offended himself/herself from turning harshly vindictive towards the offender.
This in turn helps maintain ordinance in the society in more ways than one. Firstly, a legally prescribed code of punishment leaves little space for personal/racial/caste/religious/and the likes bias and retributive brutality; thereby establishing the fact that it is important to punish the wrong-doer, but it is equally, if not more, important to uphold one’s own humanity in doing so. Secondly, punishment ostracizes the offender from the society to a certain limit wherein the society feels safeguarded from the convicted, and the convict is in a way protected from the wrath of the society and given an opportunity to rethink his perceptions of the set social touchstones.
In some cases, the punishment term gives the offender access to resources (such as education, vocational training, counselling, medical aid), the lack of which had perhaps triggered his motivation to commit the crime in the first place. In still others, rehabilitative punishment measures aid the offenders in understanding their own criminal behaviour and at least trying to oust such anti-social instincts with socially acceptable norms.
Without a correctional system to remove offenders from the rest of society and attempt to help rehabilitate them or determine what led to them breaking the law we would have fewer, and more extreme options for dealing with people.
The modern correctional administration works to provide an arrangement where those accused of crimes are monitored, punished and provided with help to not re-offend; with the goal of creating a more productive and less dangerous society.