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Punishment refers to actions that are taken to reprimand people with offensive behaviors in a given group such as family, society or the nation. At the level of the country, punishment refers to actions that are taken by the country's legal body against individuals who offends the law. in general the purpose of punishment is to instill good behavior to individuals while in other contexts, punishment is meant to hit back at people who do wrong to fellow individuals or who breaks the law. The punishment can be harsh or light depending on how seriousness of the offence (Bedau, 2010).
Lacey (1988) argues that people can always respect those they are punishing. First, at home, parents need to respect their children in terms of approach they use to correct them whenever they go wrong. In most cases, parents batter children to correct their mistakes and /or their bad behavior. This kind of punishment usually causes physical and emotional pain and makes children to be afraid of their parents. Respecting their children's emotions calls for a different approach by parents in trying to instill discipline and at the same time avoiding to make children fearful. This enhances a healthy relationship between children and their parents.
Secondly, the purpose for punishment should be upheld in all contexts i.e. at family levels and even in the case of a legal crime. In moral sense, punishment is not meant for retaliation but rather it is to correct the bad behavior and/ or rather to do justice and deter other people from committing such mistakes or rather crime. For example, a murderer who tortures his or her victims before killing them should not be tortured before their execution. This will be depriving him or her of humanity. In fact capital punishment for murders is in itself a serious disrespect for humanity and an international fundamental right to life by all human beings. In connection to this, parents and systems of justice should be respectful enough to the offenders of the family norms and offenders of the law respectfully to ensure that any form of punishment is prudent and in line with respect of humanity (Bedau, 2010).
Additionally, Bedau (2010) points out that in cases of lawful punishments, respect for humanity is required to ensure that adequate evidence is sort in order to judge somebody of being guilty. This is facilitated by a series of court hearings where the suspect is given an opportunity to exercise his or her right of expression in his or her defense against the judges in court. This ensures that the offender is punished only after being found guilty. Otherwise, innocent people will be punished and in the process they are wronged by the system of justice. This constitutes lack of respect for humanity of the criminals and/or suspects.
Capital punishment for murderers among other law offenders in different parts of the world is against the international fundamental right to life by every human being. Death penalty involve murder of the offenders of the as a punishment for their wrong doing to the society. In real sense, murder of law offenders by the government through execution is a crime in its own and a violation or rather lack of respect for humanity. The government should be on the forefront in protecting the lives of its citizen; therefore death penalty as a punishment is ironical in this sense. In fact execution of murders causes pain and suffering to the families of the victims of death penalty and this deprives them of humanity and respect. However life sentence among other measures can be effective solutions for death penalty if the governments through their systems of justice are willing to embrace the policy of respect for a right to life among other basic human rights by each of their citizens including criminals (Lacey, 1988).
In conclusion, people can respect those they are punishing in that they ensure the punishment is prudent and human all senses. In this case, respect entails recognition of the basic human rights for all including humanity and right to life among others. Any form of punishment whether at home by parents or in institutions e.g. prisons should uphold respect for humanity.