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Basing Sentencing on Retributivist Principles is the Most Effective Means of Producing a Less Punitive Range of Outcomes - Essay Example

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Basing sentencing on retributive principles is the most effective means of producing a less punitive range of outcomes. Retributive Justice has gained a lot attention in the last few decades of the twentieth century. Even though it has been practiced, discussed and critiqued for centuries it did not have many takers in the early and mid twentieth century…
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Basing Sentencing on Retributivist Principles is the Most Effective Means of Producing a Less Punitive Range of Outcomes
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Download file to see previous pages Retributive principle has had both supporters and critics. Many believe that retributive justice is the way to go as it brings justice to the victim and punishes the offender. But its critics argue that it is based on negative emotions such as revenge and does not contribute positively. It is backward looking and not forward looking. This debate has been on for a long time and many scholars and researchers have tried to address this issue. One of the main arguments supporting retributive justice is that it helps in reducing similar offences and injustices in the future. This essay revolves around this idea. The author of this essay believes that basing sentencing on retributive principles is the most effective means of producing a less punitive range of outcomes. This essay is aimed at justifying this ideology. In order to effectively justify the above, it is first necessary to understand retributive justice. And then the author argues why it is an effective means of producing less punitive range of outcomes. Retributive Justice Retributive Justice is based on a simple concept that the wrongdoers or criminals must be punished and the punishment should be proportional to the damage caused. In simple words, people must get what they deserve. This means that a labour who works hard deserves to be rewarded while those who break the rules deserve punishment. Also everybody has a choice in the way they treat others. Hence, people only deserve to be treated the way they choose to treat others. It is on these simple ideas that the retributive principles are based2. The simplicity of the idea behind retributive principles is what has lead to the confusion over retributive justice and has attracted criticism. The basic requirement of retributive justice is that punishment is proportional to the crime and cases that are similar must be treated in the same way. Wrongdoers inflict harm and cause damage and hence the punishment and blame that they deserve must be in direct proportion to the damage and harm caused3. Criticism of Retributive Justice Retributive principles have been criticised by many. One of the main criticisms of retributive justice is that it is backward looking. The retributivist theory does not look into the future but is only concerned about the crime committed in the past. Punishment is only looked from the perspective of a victim or the aggrieved party. Punishment according to retributive principles is a response to the crime and not a way to bring about social good (to the offender or the society). Critics of retributive principles take utilitarian views to support their argument. Utilitarian justice is forward looking and punishment is looked at as a tool to bring in social benefits. The severity of the punishment is not proportional to the crime but is with a purpose to reduce such crimes or offences4. Failure to take various factors such as social, economical, etc into account during imposing a penalty is another argument that critics use against retributive principles. That is if an offender is awarded with a penalty only based on the factor that it is proportional to the crime committed, then it might not be an effective one. For example, if a millionaire and an unemployed offender are both awarded the same penalty or fine based on the crime committed, then it might create an unjust situation. For the unemployed offend ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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