The words by Foucault on the book’s intention being to examine the ‘correlative history of the modern soul and a new power to judge’ mean that the intention of punishment shifts from the traditional physical punishment that was meted out by kings to a modern form of punishment. In the past, kings meted out corporal punishment whereby a person was beaten until they admitted their guilt. Traditional punishment was aimed at inflicting physical pain. However, modern punishment is aimed at correcting the soul.
Modern judgment examines the person as a whole and before punishment is meted out, the relevant stakeholders take part in deciding the form punishment. Relevant stakeholders include: human scientists, psychiatrists, prison wardens, judges and other relevant personnel. Modern punishment is not intended to inflict physical pain but to rehabilitate reform and restore the soul. The end goal of modern punishment is to change a person’s perspective towards crime and to reform the wrongdoer.
Modern judgment tends to move away from the traditional form of punishment which entailed uniform punishment for all offenders. Modern judgment examines each individual at personal level i.e. an individual’s remorse, social background, general character, the role played by the person in community and the willingness to change are taken into consideration before a person is punished. Modern punishment creates a platform where each individual is punished in a way that could reform that person best.
In conclusion, modern punishment considers the qualities and conduct of the person before punishment is meted out. When an individual is examined wholly it is likely that the punishment will be personal and more effective hence correcting the soul as opposed to the body.
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