Goals of Corrections Retribution the Rationale Behind Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Goals of Corrections


The rationale behind retribution is simply to punish the offender and it reflects the most basic natural impulse of human societies in response to individuals who deliberately break the established rules of society (Schmalleger, 2009). Its purpose is nothing more than to satisfy those impulses, particularly on the part of the victims of criminal acts. The types of penal sentences that reflect pure retribution are long terms of incarceration and even hard labor and other forms of punishment that are expressly designed to be unpleasant for the offender. The types of crime control strategies dictated by this philosophy are those that make penal sentences as long and as unpleasant for offenders as is constitutionally permissible (Schmalleger, 2009). In many respects, this was the approach taken in American criminal justice prior to the revolutionary ideas first introduced by William Penn (Schmalleger, 2009). The only "advantages" of this approach are that it satisfies the need for revenge on the part of victims of crime and, at least in theory, that it may deter others from perpetrating crime because of the fear of the consequences. The disadvantages of this approach are that it caters to an unproductive primitive impulse and does nothing to help offenders overcome whatever problems and influences might have resulted in their becoming criminals in the first place.


The rationale behind deterrence theory is that awareness of the consequences of criminal conduct will cause individuals contemplating criminal conduct to consider the consequences and refrain from those choices under the rational choice theory of behavior (Schmalleger, 2009). The purpose of deterrence is to prevent crime before it happens. The types of crime control strategies and sentences that are consistent with the deterrence approach would be harsh penalties in conjunction with publicizing them in advance of the choice to perpetrate crimes. The two primary suggested advantages of this approach are that it prevents crimes before they happen and that it helps reduce the cost of administering criminal justice for crimes that might otherwise be committed (Nagin, 1998; Visher, 1987). One disadvantage of this approach is that it requires harsh punishment to be effective. However, the main disadvantage is that the evidence suggests that it simply does not work (Lynch, 1999).


The rationale behind rehabilitation is that many offenders can be helped to become productive members of society by addressing the causes of their criminality during the penal phase of their involvement in the criminal justice system (Schmalleger, 2009). The purpose of this goal is to emphasize helping offenders re-enter society as non-offenders. The types of sentences that are most consistent with rehabilitation would be those…

Sources Used in Document:


Lynch, M.J. (1999). "Beating a Dead Horse: Is There Any Basic Empirical Evidence for the Deterrence Effect of Imprisonment?" Criminal Law & Social Change, Vol.


Nagin, D.S. (1998). "Criminal Deterrence Research at the Outset of the Twenty-First

Century." Crime and Justice, Vol. 23.

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