This bachelor’s thesis deals with the change in punishment as it has developed historically and the predominance of penalties in criminal law nowadays. Next to today’s understanding of punishment, the main focus lies on the meaning and purpose of the sentence and the relevance of the prison. Furthermore, the principles and developments of abolitionism are presented, which include the absence of prison sentences and the abolition of criminal law. In addition the theoretical discussion on this subject, modern approaches to punishment and alternatives of the improvement, such as diversion and electronically monitored house arrest, are presented. The conclusion of this thesis reveals the importance of social work in the context of the change in punishment.