The death penalty the utilitarian punishment theory and the retributive punishment theory

Retributive theory of punishment

It is not in private life that one meets such monsters In other words, punishment should not be unlimited. Specific deterrence works in two ways. Because crime and punishment are inconsistent with happiness, they should be kept to a minimum. The goal of rehabilitation is to prevent future crime by giving offenders the ability to succeed within the confines of the law. Clearly, if a murderer is dead, then he can never harm anyone again. Philosophers have argued over exactly how the resulting good and evil may be identified and to whom the greatest good should belong. Opponents of capital punishment challenge proponents on each of these points. Crime, Guilt, and Punishment. However, utilitarians and retributivists have different ways of arriving at this general conclusion. Purposes[ edit ] One purpose of official retribution is to channel the retributive sentiments of the public into the political and legal systems. But retributive concerns also play a major role: the range of acceptable practices that can be engaged in by those concerned with reducing crime is to be constrained by a retributive principle allowing only the punishment of an offender for an offense. Objection and Response This overriding process, however, cannot work in the opposite direction. Punishment shows respect for the wrongdoer because it allows an offender to pay the debt to society and then return to society, theoretically free of guilt and stigma.

The standard utilitarian response to this argument demands that we look more closely at the example. Crime, Guilt, and Punishment.

Furthermore, the individuals that populated this world would be morally obligated to punish wrongdoers.

assignment on theories of punishment

If an offender is confined for a certain period of time, then that offender will be less able to harm others during that period of time.

Critics argue that utilitarians would sometimes be committed to inflicting a severe punishment for a relatively minor offense. Second, this incapacitation is designed to be so unpleasant that it will discourage the offender from repeating her criminal behavior.

utilitarian theory of punishment pdf

A third major rationale for punishment is denunciation. One libertarian approach to this issue argues that full restitution in the broad, rather than technical legal, sense is compatible with both retributivism and a utilitarian degree of deterrence. Concepts of desert and justice occupy a central place in most retributive theories: in accordance with the demands of justice, wrongdoers are thought to deserve to suffer, so punishment is justified on the grounds that it gives to wrongdoers what they deserve.

Jeremy Bentham identified good with pleasure and evil with pain and held that the greatest pleasure should belong to the greatest number of people. Therefore, punishment is carried out to atone for the damage already done.

theories of crime and punishment

However, while Kantian theory may seem superior because it takes desert and justice into account, an influential criticism of the theory challenges the idea that punishment can be justified on the grounds of justice and desert without requiring that the balance of happiness over unhappiness be taken into account.

If he knows that a quick arrest will stop the riots and lynchings, surely, as a utilitarian, he must conclude that he has a duty to bear false witness in order to bring about the punishment of an innocent person Bedau, Hugo Adam, and Paul Cassell, eds.

So in order to balance the scale of justice, it is necessary to inflict the deserved suffering on him.

The death penalty the utilitarian punishment theory and the retributive punishment theory

By stipulation, the lesser offender committed the crime and cannot thereby claim a violation of justice on those grounds. According to the retributivist, human beings have free will and are capable of making rational decisions. Duff, R. Clearly, if a murderer is dead, then he can never harm anyone again. However, a person who makes a conscious choice to upset the balance of society should be punished. Rehabilitative measures for criminal offenders usually include treatment for afflictions such as mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic violent behavior. For example, whether or not a given offender is punished will affect how the society views the governmental institution that is charged with responding to violations of the law. Of course, some resist the idea that inflicting suffering in such a case would be gratuitous, which is why this debate continues. It would be wrong because it would be unjust. There are different moral bases for retribution. Sprigge, T. Bedau, Hugo Adam. First, it is difficult to apply to many offenses, and it seems to be outright inapplicable to some. Retributivism a. Conclusion These issues introducing punishment have received a great deal of attention in the professional literature, and many philosophers continue to discuss them and offer various answers to the questions that are raised.
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Retributive justice