Appropriate Justification for Punishment - Essay Example

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Topic: Appropriate justification for punishment Student Number: Tutor Name: Date: What is the most appropriate justification for punishment: deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation or incapacitation? Discuss with reference to the changing historical context of punishment…
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Appropriate Justification for Punishment
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Download file to see previous pages Therefore, punishment is a response to unusual behavior or crimes in societies and usually takes the form of either formal or informal ways of administration. Formally, the authority figures utilize systematized laws such as civil law suits while informally, the society uses social groups such as peer groups to correct an individual (Bonta & Andrews, 2010, p.58). Conversely, at the informal level, social systems are employed and this touches on families, friends or peers. Punishments vary in the severity, depending on the extent of their consequences in the society, and may include reprimands, ostracism, sanctions, incarcerations, fines, death penalties, or deprivation of privileges (Michael, 2001, p.99). Incapacitation, deterrence, education, rehabilitation, and retribution are the principal punishment justifications (Lippman, 2009, p.82). Deterrence, also referred to as prevention is a disciplinary procedure used to avoid offenses. Through deterrence, those who commit offenses are deterred from reoffending while those contemplating the offense are deterred from trying to commit these offenses (David, 2002, p. 11). The goal of this punishment is to scare people from committing crimes or they face the punishment. Authority figures on the other hand, use rehabilitation for reform purposes. This form of punishment rehabilitates the wrong doer and prevents them from committing the crimes again. In this case, the punishment changes the wrong doer’s attitude and makes them realize that what they do is wrong, and helps them stop it. For the sake of protecting the society, law makers use incapacitation as a form of punishment. In this case, the society engages in several methods to remove the ability of the offender to engage in future offenses (David, 2002, p.13), which includes imprisonments, amputations or death penalties. In most criminal activities, the offender usually gains while the victim of the offense looses. For the sake of retributive justice, retribution is necessary; to create a balance between the offender and the victim and ensure the offender suffers (David, 2002, p.15). Another reason for punishment is restoration, where the offender makes right whatever they have committed. Penalties for restoration are minor, and may include compensation or community services. In addition to these, there are other reasons for punishments such as education, which instills discipline to the society’s norms and values. Punishment has received much attention from scholars of various fields, specifically, philosophy and psychology. In Psychology, operant conditioning is most associated with punishment. Operant conditioning introduces the aspect of response-stimuli conditioning and learning through reinforcement (Nevid, 2011, p.183). In this context, punishment refers to the act of reducing behavior by applying an adverse stimulus or removing a pleasant stimulus. This concept is useful in understanding the justifications for punishments because they basic goal is to reduce or remove unpleasant behavior from the organism (Blackman, 1974, p.77). Over the years, civilization has changed the methods and perception of punishment. The rationale behind every punishment method is that its degree should fit the crime. The consequence of a crime to the society is used to assess and formulate the most suitable punishment (Hugo, 2010, p. 87). Every type of punishment has its purpose and this mainly includes: rehabilitating ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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