Punishment Worksheet

Last week, I uploaded a worksheet on creating laws for your fictional world. This time, we’re going to punish all those characters that break them.

Punishment Worksheet
Punishment Worksheet

Again, there’s no example for this one, but here are some more pointers. First, work out which crimes are considered the ‘worst’ by your civilisation/community. Perhaps make an ordered list. The ones at the top of the list need to carry harsher penalties than the ones near the bottom. Then, decide what kind of penalties your society can use to punish crimes. Below is a list of punishments that have been used throughout history – many are still used today.

Types of Punishment:
  • Fines
  • Deprivation of privileges or rights
  • Incarceration
  • Corporal punishment
  • Amputation
  • Ostracism
  • Execution

Another thing to think about is the reasons for punishing the crime. Below are five reasons why a crime may be punished in a certain way.

Reasons for Punishment:
  • Deterrence – if the consequence is unpleasant, no one will want to perform the action. This should prevent crime from ever occurring.
  • Rehabilitation – change the way a person sees the crime. Make them see what they did was wrong.
  • Restoration – putting right what was done wrong. This could be returning stolen items or performing community service.
  • Retribution – getting ‘even’. Seeing that the criminal suffers as the victim suffered.
  • Incapacitation – ensuring the criminal is unable to commit the crime again.

How can you use this in a story? Well, if your character has, for some reason, committed a crime, you need to give them a reason to fight against it. No one is going to be gripped by the story of a man forced to steal an apple if the penalty is going to be a £50 fine, no matter why he did it. If, however, stealing the apple will result in him losing an arm, we’re suddenly interested. Small crime, big punishment.


Make sure there is a believable reason for your lawmakers to have decided on this punishment. Does it truly fit the crime based on their belief/political system? If not, maybe reconsider.

As always, don’t stress over it and enjoy!


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