The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment - Essay Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
Summary
The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment. Introduction Since the dawn of civilization, societies have felt the need to impose order by regulating human relations and interactions according to a set of laws or code of conduct…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.5% of users find it useful
The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment"

Download file to see previous pages The matter of penal sanctions, therefore, became an issue among legal theorists; apparently, there comes a point when the penalty is too harsh as to itself be disruptive of the social peace, or that the penalty is too inconsequential that offenders do not think twice about transgressing the law. In order to create effective penal laws, the philosophy and purpose behind the punishment should be examined and their merits and shortcomings understood. Of all frameworks that have been proposed, two stand out in particular in penal theory, namely the retributivist and the utilitarian theories. Retributivism and Utilitarianism There are four fundamental justifications behind criminal punishment: retribution, deterrence (including incapacitation), rehabilitation, and protection of society (Hagan, 2010:103). Deterrence means that punishment serves to warn possible future offenders and inhibit them from committing crimes. Rehabilitation aims to reform or resocialize the criminal into law-abiding and compliant members of society. Protection and upholding of social solidarity is simply what it expresses – the protection of society and reaffirmation of social solidarity and values. These three justifications fall under utilitarian theory, because they deal with the effect of the criminal deed on society and to maximize the good such punishment can provide for the greater number, the community (Yacoubian, 1998). Retribution, on the other hand,“is a moral motive for punishment, not simply a utilitarian one” (Hagan, 2010:103). In this purpose of punishment, the fundamental aim is to restore justice to those who had suffered as well as to society as a whole. In retributivism, neither the future conduct of the offender nor the future impact on society are significant in determining punishment (Yacoubian, 1998) Hagan describes it quite appropriately as society’s equivalent for the individual’s revenge. In the pre-modern age, a person wronged by a crime is entitled to seek vengeance to right the wrong done to him. Modern legal theory assumes this role for the individual, and takes the crime to be an offense not only against the individual but against society itself. Victims of the crime may not pursue their own revenge, but allow the state to pursue, on its behalf and theirs, the penal act that restores the balance of justice. An example of retributive justice is the hunt for and punishment of Nazi war criminals. Such punishment may not significantly serve such purposes as deterrence, protection of society, least of all rehabilitation. However, there remains the public outrage throughout the years that such criminals had gotten away with their war crimes (Hagan, 2010). There is a need to inflict some suffering on the criminal commensurate to the crime done, for the simple reason that justice must be restored. This is the crux behind retributive justice (Haist, 2009). Virtually ignored during the first three quarters of the twentieth century, retributivism again assumed dominance as the underlying theory of the criminal justice system (Ackerman, 2011:220). What had prevailed for the greater part of the 20th century was Utilitarianism as the overriding theory in criminal punishment. According to Mills (1938), “Utilitarianism is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility.” Utility here is understood to mean the good (also called “happiness” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/law/1425199-the-retributivist-and-utilitarian-theories-for
(The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Essay)
https://studentshare.org/law/1425199-the-retributivist-and-utilitarian-theories-for.
“The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/law/1425199-the-retributivist-and-utilitarian-theories-for.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
no
norbert87 added comment 1 year ago
Student rated this paper as
At first, I thought 6 of pages is too much for such a topic. But now I see it could not be done better. As the author starts you see the depth of the subject. I’ve read all at once. Perfect paper

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment

Theories of Punishment

..., 1999). Retributive theory Retribution is the most extensively distinguished non-utilitarian theory of punishment. This theory offers the assertion that punishment of an offender should only occur if he or she had actually perpetrated the act. This implies that the proportion of their blameworthiness should be the main benchmark in determining the occurrence of punishment. To establish this extent of blameworthiness, two major elements determine this. These are the nature and severity of the harm inflicted or menaced by the offense and the criminal’s extent of responsibility in committing the offense....
12 Pages(3000 words)Research Paper

Appropriate Justification for Punishment

...offenses. To prevent injustices associated with traditional punishment justifications, the contemporary societies place a lot of considerations before punishing an individual (Richard, 2006, p.61). These considerations include the age of the offender, past offenses, the severity of the crime and the legal and human rights of the offender (Maguire & Okada, 2010, p.73). Today, those in authority methodically develop a criminal case independently by reviewing the criminal’s characteristics such as health and social environments. Types of punishments in the traditional societies would include exile, death, supernatural...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

Utilitarian versus Retributivist Views

...? Utilitarian versus Retributivist Views Number Introduction If there are principles that are sacrosanctto the dispensation of justice, law and order, then they are punishment and justification. While punishment is the deliberate and strategic meting out of suffering on an individual who has been found guilty of a criminal offence, justification refers to the declaration of an individual’s actions as reasonable or necessary in the court of law, and thereby extricating the individual of any legal liability. Justification may also refer to the validity of the punishment that is being...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Theories of punishment

...and only statistical appraisal can confirm it, which is beyond the scope of this assignment. An index crime is committed willingly and non-index ones are perpetrated non-willingly. Non-index crimes consist of non-physical confrontation. For example, violation of liquor laws is a non-index crime, which does not cause pain, loss and suffering to another person. It is a non-index crime. Fraud, forgery, gambling, drug abuse, and drunkenness are some of the non-index crimes that do not consist of physical confrontation. FBI characterizes 21 different crimes as non-index ones (“The Purpose of Criminal Punishment”). In the philosophical terms, punishment is based on two...
3 Pages(750 words)Term Paper

Criminal Punishment Program

...theories explain why capital punishment is inefficient and ineffective in deterring crime. This section explores these conflicting viewpoints and findings from different studies. Deterrence Theory Deterrence theory states that certain interventions can result to decreased criminal activities. Some examples are increasing police visibility and capital punishment. The theory argues that the “severity of punishment is inversely proportional to the level of crime rates” (Siegel, 2009, p.106). Deterrence theory can be used to explain that death penalty deters criminals from...
9 Pages(2250 words)Research Paper

Justification of Punishment

...Running head: JUSTIFICATION OF PUNISHMENT The Justification of Punishment against Offenders You're There are many judicial theories in behind the reasoning for the necessity of penal punishment against criminal offenders. This research examines the issues for why legal punishment is necessary to restore justice to society and keep some form of social control over the many communities in the UK. One of the best theories that are examined in this research is based on restorative justice. This research will define how restorative justice actually works in many ways, one of which it takes...
10 Pages(2500 words)Essay

Concept of criminal punishment

...Concept of Criminal Punishment Punishment, as comprehended in the US, combines the denunciation, retributive and utilitarian theories. Retribution constitutes the chief rationale for punishment in the US, and the sentence inflicted upon an accused, invariably includes some form of retribution. Greek and Roman societies inflicted death, exile, incarceration, corporal punishment and slavery on offenders. Such punitive measures were imported into England; and capital punishment was commonly awarded for over 200 offences, several of which were trifling crimes like swindling. The punishments...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Social contexts and the justification for punishment

.... Based on the social context such as gender, class or any action, retributivism suggests that punishment is due because a person deserves it. (Bedau & Erin, 2010) However, over the period of time, this idea has faded and the consequationalism emerged as one of the valid theoretical explanation for the connection between the social context and the justification for the punishment. Utilitarian beliefs suggested that punishment can only be justified if it has the value and use for the society. Punishment is also considered as a mechanism for the social control therefore over the period of time society has shaped the institutions and laws...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Utilitarian Theories of Punishment

...that are utilitarian are frequently seen as the opposing position and are often used in consideration of the future. Utilitarian theories of punishment will serve as the focus of this discussion. Utilitarian Theories of PunishmentUtilitarian punishment holds the argument that punishment is justified only in incidences which serve to reduce future criminal acts. Deterrence is preferred and has been proven effective in reducing criminal actions in a portion of the population who are never sentenced to complete incapacitation, such as...
7 Pages(1750 words)Essay

[Ethics and Criminal Punishment]

...Discussion Post Discussion Post There is a major difference between retentionists and abolitionists in terms of capital punishments. Abolitionists consider that capital punishment should be practiced within every society. On the other hand, retentionists claim that capital punishment must be avoided in every possible manner. There are two different ethical systems that are followed by each school of thought in order to assert regarding capital punishment. These ethical systems include utilitarianism and non-consequentialist grounds of ethical theories (Frey, 2008). Herein, it can be studied that the reason behind retentionists claim regarding capital punishment is that they believe that by banning it, more and more welfare can... be...
1 Pages(250 words)Assignment
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic The Retributivist and Utilitarian Theories for Justification of Criminal Punishment for FREE!

Contact Us