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JUSTIFICATION OF

PUNISHMENT
PUNISHMENT
its point is to inflict discomfort on the
recipient
involves the intentional infliction of pain
and/or the deprivation of rights and liberties.
involves the deliberate infliction of suffering
on a supposed or actual offender for an
offense such as a moral or legal transgression
Justifications for punishment
typically take FIVE FORMS:
(1) retributive
(2) deterrence
(3) preventive
(4) rehabilitative
(5) restitutionary
RETRIBUTIVE JUSTIFICATION
There is no complete agreement about what
sorts of theories are retributive except that all
such theories try to establish an essential link
between punishment and moral
wrongdoing (C.L. Ten)
If a wrongful act is committed, then the
person who has committed it has upset the
balance of the scale of justice. He has inflicted
suffering on another, and therefore rendered
himself deserving of suffering. So in order to
balance the scale of justice, it is necessary to
inflict the deserved suffering on him. (I. Kant)
RETRIBUTIVE JUSTIFICATION
punishing a person is that he
committed an offense that deserves
the punishment
person who has committed a
wrongful act should suffer in
proportion to the magnitude of her
wrongdoing

RETRIBUTIVE JUSTIFICATION
principle of equality
"Let the punishment fit the crime
The concept is common to most cultures
throughout the world and is evident in many
ancient texts. Its presence in the ancient Jewish
culture is shown by its inclusion in the law of
Moses, specifically in Deuteronomy 19:17-21,
and Exodus 21:23-21:27, which includes the
punishments of "life for life, eye for eye, tooth
for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."
DETERRENCE JUSTIFICATION
utilitarian justification
use of punishment as a threat to deter people
from offending
two key assumptions
"deter" or prevent the offender from
committing further crimes (SPECIFIC
DETERRENCE)
fear of punishment will prevent others from
committing similar crimes (GENERAL
DETERRENCE)
DETERRENCE JUSTIFICATION
Marginal deterrence
a more severe crime should be punished
more severely than a lesser crime and
that a series of crimes should be
punished more severely than a single
crime of the same kind
PREVENTIVE JUSTIFICATION
utilitarian justification
incarcerating a person for wrongful
acts is justified insofar as it prevents
that person from committing
wrongful acts against society during
the period of incarceration
REHABILITATIVE JUSTIFICATION
punishment is justified in virtue of the effect that it
has on the moral character of the offender
Rehabilitation
people are not permanently criminal and that it is
possible to restore a criminal to a useful life, to a
life in which they contribute to themselves and to
society
Restorative or reparative justice
offenders are encouraged to take responsibility
for their actions, "to repair the harm they've
done
RESTITUTIONARY
JUSTIFICATION
focuses on the effect of the offenders wrongful act
on the victim
The point is not that the offender deserves to
suffer; it is rather that the offended party desires
compensation (Barnett 1977, p. 289).
Accordingly, a criminal convicted of wrongdoing
should be sentenced to compensate her victim in
proportion to the victims loss.