Ethics plays a big role in handing down punishment to law breakers

Incapacitation and other forms of risk management.

concept of punishment pdf

In this view, the value of human life is seen to be honored by the punishment of a murderer. Again, the challenge is in determining how to anchor the sentencing scale to actual offenses.

5 philosophies of punishment

One fundamental question is whether people are ever morally guilty in the way that basic retributive theory seems to suppose. Even apart from the problems above, retributivists have yet to construct a nonarbitrary way of deciding what sentence the guilty offender deserves as punishment.

Incapacitation Imprisonment has the effect of confining prisoners, physically preventing them from committing crimes against those outside, thus protecting the community.

Theories of punishment

Second, for those who do commit crimes and are subjected to punishment, the threat of future punishment namely, the prospect of having to experience prison again, or pay further fines, and so forth might provide a disincentive to reoffending. By failing to restrain herself appropriately, she gains an unfair advantage over others in society. Utilitarian theories of punishment dominated American jurisprudence during most of the twentieth century. None plays any visible role in his account of the theory or practice of punishment. What we would like to know is whether the intuitions themselves are justified, or whether, for instance, they amount to an unhealthy desire for vengeance. Indeed, questions of political legitimacy and criminalization are important topics that have received a great deal of attention in their own right. As a result sentencers must content themselves with a largely procedural justification of most of the punishments they impose. The main part of this theoretical overview of the subject of legal punishment concentrates on these issues of justification. However, it may be argued that using punishment as a deterrent has the fundamental flaw that human nature tends to ignore the possibility of punishment until they are caught, and actually can be attracted even more to the 'forbidden fruit', or even for various reasons glorify the punished, such as admiring a fellow for 'taking it like a man'. But for the threat of punishment to be the sort of thing likely to deter criminals, the punishment itself must be burdensome. Unless one wishes to take the paradoxical position, analogous to certain religious doctrines of predestination, that people are guilty for qualities and acts they cannot help, the simple retributive theory is incompatible with determinism. Morris, Norval. Hinduism regards punishment as an essential part of government of the people: "Punishment alone governs all created beings, punishment alone protects them, punishment watches over them while they sleep; the wise declare punishment to be the law. We might assert instead that the sentence and the offense need not be alike in kind, but that the sentence should impose an amount of suffering equal to the harm done by the offender.

Davis, Angela Y. So far, this view appears to justify state intervention only to stop ongoing crimes or ward off impending crimes. Critics have raised various objections to the moral education view.

Justification of punishment

Even if we establish some sufficiently valuable function of punishment, this may not be enough to justify the practice. If members of a society regarded a formal condemnation as extremely shameful, one might think of that as a possible punishment in itself rather than merely a complement of more substantial consequences; this discussion will adopt the common assumption that punishment involves more than condemnation. Hegel, punishment honors the criminal as a rational being and gives him what it is his right to have. Goldman, Alan Nor could the retributivist claim that the resentment or indignation directed toward offenders is fitting, rather than merely ill-disguised anger. Prohibition by law plays an essential role in securing grudging compliance, and the principal vehicle for such prohibition is the punitive sanction attached to violation of the criminal law. Critics of this view often object, however, that it provides insufficient or counterintuitive guidance about sentencing. Censure and Sanctions.
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Punishment (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)