People who challenge and in some way offend the collective conscience are the criminals. They are the deviants acting against the norms of society. Durkheim also agrees that there cannot be a society without crime because then it would be an unhealthy society-one that is rigid. It is the insecurities in society that causes criminals who make the healthy members of society repulse. The moral emotions of the society in general are offended. The offender is seen as a threat. Durkheim argues that the weaker the social integration of the society, the stronger will be the threat and consequentially the punishment will also be severe. This however leads to the questioning of can a crime be a threat irrespective of the social order? Do the social order and the collective conscience have to necessarily dictate the severity of the punishment only based on the threat level?
Some of the strengths of the Durkheim theory are that it reinforces a wider construction and interpretation of punishment (Scott, & Flynn, 2014). Punishments in society are a form of reactive condemnation and this is easily understood using Durkheim. The connection between the type of society and the punishment that is meted out is a progressive thought that is indeed helpful to understand why punishments have changed through the years. A primitive society will differ in the punishments it metes out and a feudal society or a mechanical society will Social solidarity is based on similarity and the more the threat against that solidarity, the more sever the punishment. In the past criminals were stones or hanged (Alexander, & Smith, 2005). Now they the punishments are less severe and society believes that the criminal will still have a chance to lead a normal life after restitution. The sociology of punishment is a framework which is helpful when analyzing and interpreting the actions of penal institutions. Most sociological perspectives with respect to punishments, view them in a very complex note. The Durkheimian perspective however views them in a collective sense.