Why does the law exist?

The law exists to protect us and ensure our rights. If you do not follow the law, it is possible that these are removed. Many countries around the world have prisons. Often, if you do not follow the law a judge will send you to prison. There are a few main reasons why we send people to prison.


Being sent to prison results in the removal of a person’s right to liberty and freedom. This is a serious interference with what the law usually protects. Imprisonment is often justified on the basis that a person should be punished for not following the law. That person has chosen not to act appropriately and they should not be praised or rewarded for that conduct.
Most people are not used to this kind of restriction on movement and confined to a single room or building. Conditions in a prison often are basic and intended to house as many people as possible. This means that prison is a very unpleasant experience for people. Prison is a way to indicate to people that not following law will have consequences.


Part of the reason to send people to prison is to stop any future problems. Any person who does not follow the law will be aware of the consequence. Being imprisoned is unpleasant and, in this way, it acts to deter future instances of people not following the law.

Think about the reasons why you do not break the law. Does the threat of prison play a role? Does prison sound like the kind of place you want to end up? That is a deterrent.

Also, imprisonment may prevent a person who has previously been to a prison from not following the law again. They know what a prison is like and most likely do not wish to return. The threat of prison deters them from not following the law effectively as others.


Removing people, who have ignored the law, from society serves to protect us. If we allow people who have decided not to follow the law to roam free, there are problems. First, they could continue to cause harm to others. Second, they may influence other people to follow their example and ignore the law because they are not being stopped.
Prison plays a main role in ensuring the law is followed. Those who decide not to follow have the rights to liberty removed. This punishes and acts as a threat, encouraging others to continue to follow the law. In this way, the law aims to keep society safe, together and protected by ensuring it is not appealing to not follow the law.



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