Why do we punish?

Where does the impulse of the punishment in neuroscientific terms? Without doubt, the most ancient part of the brain, that the drive to survive there is to do whatever is necessary because "the end justifies the means". By Koncha pines - Pey for space MIMIND.


There are three types of justifications for punishment that socially are offered: 1. worth damage is compensated by one greater good - for example, the deterrence-; 2 there are punishments that, rather than damage, reform; 3. it is necessary to remove offenders from society because they pay so his crime.

However, each of these reasons becomes problematic when we examined it in the eyes of the Mindfulness. The history of punishment is not different from the history of the war, which also accompanies the human condition. But justified '' justice in many cases just going against the compassionate social humanism.

The first argument -you punishment, you do damage, for your sake - it is clearly utilitarian, but it seems to me to be completely immoral do harm to someone because we want to influence their behaviour. This principle, which may sound noble, can justify the use of innocents as "scapegoats". Many people commit crimes because they have become social scapegoats of ruling classes that denied the basics - the home, food, education, health - in the world. Were the societies most punishing the fairer, why does United States, that penalizes the highest percentage of world's population, have the highest crime rate? Why are countries that don't have crime rates lower in the world?

With respect to the second argument -reforming the offender in a penitentiary centre will be improved - according to studies of Mindulness in prisons, there is no doubt that criminals sent to prison worsened. His relapse was higher when there was probation. As well as the psychiatric prisons dehumanize.

As to the third argument criminals are separated, and thus "paid" what they did, although the most prevalent emotion revenge, you can not be morally justified and is socially destructive. While the Judeo-Christian societies understand ' punishment as retribution to God ", the oriental equivalent understands that the punishment is more impersonal, and is the effect of the actions caused. It is inevitable in the human condition the assumption of errors, but when the fine line is transferred - execution of minors, the loop of suffering returns to perpetuate itself.

Mindfulness of restorative and compassionate justice movement proposes to use compassion, deep wisdom and know the causes of the suffering that lead to crime. To illustrate this, I would like to tell you of two Buddhist Suttas: Anguilimala Sutta and the Sutta of the roaring lion.

The Anguilimala Sutta or the Buddha and the terrorist

Anguilimala was a ruthless Bandit known in the time of Buddha because he murdered many people. It had a bad - rosario - made from human fingers.
One day, he crossed the path of the Buddha and decided that I should kill him. He was to meet and whenever she tried to do so, could not.

Anguilimala felt so much rage and bewilderment that I ask Buddha: why not I kill you?. This answered: "because you do not fear". The impact was so strong that it left forever the violence and took vows not to damage any be alive anymore: became a monk.

When the townspeople knew that Anguilimala the killer lived with the Buddha, they went to seek explanations from the King who had invited the Buddha to preach. The King said: "Buddha was able to tame the mind of Anguilimala without force or weapons, just Anguillimala has reached the Supreme goal of preserving life, and has been that commitment that has led him to change".

But a few days later, when the young monk came to beg he was beaten by the people. The Buddha said: "you must support it because it is the result of your past karma. But you are no longer a killer, you're now the monk Anguillimala, do not forget". The Sutta ends with some beautiful verses: "who knows the evil deeds he did, take responsibility and replaced them with healthy actions, can illuminate the world, just as the Moon is released from a cloud".

At this point the Sutta suggests that the only way to help an offender to be better is to help you understand the nature of his mind, and thus be able to forge his character. Then there is no reason to punish someone, they should motivate you to he reform it. As we see in the Sutta, is does not nullify the responsibility of crime - Anguillimala is beaten up. But the Bandit understands that this is only the fruit of his last action, the ripening of karma.

The Sutta of the roaring lion

It deals with the relationship between the criminal justice and social justice, especially in relation to poverty and violence. Buddha summed up his teaching on the four Noble Truths: life is suffering has a cause, has a default and we can put an end. According to this Buddhist approach crime control passes to understand the root causes that generated the crime.

In this Sutta, the Buddha tells the story of a King who went to Dharma and doing so I advise everyone: "that any crime prevails in the Kingdom, and for those who commit crimes and are in need, that his punishment is the granting of property" ", the food or what they needed and that led them to crime".

The text has implications for the understanding of a compassionate policy. Poverty is the fundamental cause of offences: theft, violence, or lying, etc. The solution is not to accept "our karma of poverty". Crime, violence or immorality cannot be separated from broader issues about the justice or injustice of the "social order". The solution is not to punish, but to provide people with basic needs.

If the punishment is sometimes a mirror image of crime, crimes are speculations of the penalty. The violence of the State reinforces the belief that violence per primary brain. is operated - When the State used violence against those who do things which does not allow, should not surprise us that some of its citizens feel about the right to do the same.

The emphasis of non-violence in Mindfulness is because of worries about the world and their interdependence of all phenomena. The media cannot be separated from the end, but must contextualize the facts. If there is no way to peace, the same peace should be the way. And since the State is not exempt from this truth, we must find ways to incorporate in our justice systems, learning about the deep vision mechanisms.

The emphasis of Mindfulness is: first of all provide instruments that help offenders to remember and reflect on the crime, to understand that it is better "the common good", in order to overcome the primary trends that produced it. But also urges those who have responsibility to replace the desire for revenge by compassion and emphasizing the value of the transformation of the mind.

I know that many lawyers, judges, prosecutors, judges and friends of Justice work in this, and from here I thank them deeply to introduce "deep vision" in the system.


Did you like this article?

Subscribe to our RSS so you don't miss anything

Other articles on
By • 12 Jun, 2013 • section: General