The Ideal Constitution

About punishment

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): From: "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung" (The World as Will and Image), 2nd Book, 4th Volume, Chapter 47:
(Schopenhauer already had analysed in 1825 that imprisonment was unfit to suppress criminality)

In my view criminal law should be founded on the principle that not the person but the act is punished to prevent repetition:
The criminal is merely the object on which the act is retaliated in order to enforce justice to deter.



Arthur Schopenhauer
The World as Will and Image
On the Freedom of Will
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Death Penalty
The penitentiary system aims to punish the man - besides his deed - so he will improve himself.
Henceforce the original goal of the punishment - the deterrence - is made deficient in order to reach the questionable goal of improving the person.
It is a common accepted fact that it is terribly difficult to aim at two different goals with one attempt, and close to impossible when these goals are opposite.
It is a blessing to get education, punishment must stay an ordeal.
The penitentiary system is furnished to deliver both.
Although the influence of poverty - empowered by vulgarity, cruelty and stupidity - on crimes is extensive, it may not be regarded as the main cause since countless people in exactly the same circumstances do not commit any crime.
All is really founded in the individual moral character. In my dissertation On the Freedom of Will I have demonstrated that this is unalterable.
Henceforce the essential moral improvement of a person is impossible, only deterrance of the criminal act.
Beyond that, enrichment of knowledge & skills and obtaining job satisfaction are within reach. Future will tell whether achievements have been made.
More important is sparing of suffering of future potential victims - in accordance with the above described goal of punishment - over the suffering of the criminal.
The solitary confinement is contraproductive. The hence originated suffering is observed by no one and does not deter potential criminals who never have experienced it themselves.
The people who were driven to crime by poverty and debts shall be scourged by the opposite of misery: boredom. But as Goethe truly points out:

If not by illness struck
Boredom is pure luck

The prospect on that will neither deter nor the prospect of the palatial prisons built by rightious people for crooks.
Are the houses of correction to be regarded as reformatories, then it is regrettable that the admittance is granted by crime, instead that these were meant to prevent it.
That the penalty should have a proper proportion to the committed crime is not founded on the suffering but on what is sacrificed.
Henceforce everybody is justified for safeguarding his own life to demand the sacrifice of the offender's life, but not for safeguarding his property for which the sacrifice of the offender's freedom is enough.
To safeguard the life of citizens the Death Penalty is essential. For those who want to abolish it I would say: first banish murder, then the death penalty may follow.
The premeditated murder attempt should be addressed as murder because justice must punish the deed and not revenge the successful attempt.
Anyway, the damage that must be prevented is the proper proportion for the impending punishment, and not the immoral prohibited act.
Besides the scope of the damage to be prevented - weighs the force of motives of the prohibited act in the determination of the punishment.
There would be a completely different criterion for the punishment if remorse and retaliation were the foundation.
Punishment should merely be opposed countermotives against each possible criminal attempt.
Henceforce each countermotive should be far stronger than the temptation, and even more when the benefit from the inhibited act is significant, the larger the temptation shall be for the criminal and the harder it shall be to motivate him to refrain from the act, always according to the principle that the Will is not free but must act whenever the motives to act are pressing.
{own translation from German to English}