Retribution for Criminal Punishment Every Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

1446) and it also reinforces that the offender's actions are not taken seriously by the government. A retributive system for criminal punishment accomplishes the ideal of equal liberty under law (Markel, 2004). When an individual commits a crime, they not only assert superiority over their victim, but also claim superiority, however implied, over the government body and practice of legal liberty.

Acts of wrongdoing are paired with consequences -- it is this principle in which crime and punishment have been paired as means for justice. Retributive punishment for criminal behavior is rooted in the history of early civilizations as the sole deterrent of wrongdoing. In current American government, the use of "an eye for an eye" is limited to capital punishment and is believed by some to be a significant deterrent for homicide. The deterrence theory and incapacitation theory of punishment both fail at matching the punishment with the severity of the crime. The deterrence theory relies on the benefit-cost ratio of criminal behavior and attempts to balance the reward of a crime with its legal cost to deter wrongdoing. The incapacitation theory argues that criminal behavior is an innate characteristic, and these individuals should be removed from society based on criminal record and other behaviors to avoid future harm (Carlsmith, 2006). The deterrence theory is flawed as the cost of punishment is subjective to each individual and is not enough to prevent crime or reduce repeat offense. The incapacitation theory negates the rehabilitative effects of punishment, and assigns incarceration to all criminals regardless of the severity of the crime; this can cause those convicted of lesser crimes to become more criminally involved instead of corrected.

The determination of retributive punishment is based on three factors: the magnitude of harm, the perpetrator's intentions, and other factors that may lessen or intensify the immorality of the wrongful act (Carlsmith, 2006). Using these factors to establish punishment for a crime allows for the retributive theory of punishment to remain a justificatory ideal, as it equates the severity of punishment with the moral severity of the crime. The socio-legal ideal of retribution sustains that every individual is responsible for their morality. Retribution prevents crimes from being punished with ambiguity and turned-cheeks. Retributive punishment represents a socio-legal enforcement of morality, and the threat of equal punishment for every crime will deter potential perpetrators and inhibit repeat offenders from chronic criminality.

References

Cahill, M. (2007). Retributive justice in the real world. Washington University Law Review, 85, 815-870.

Carlsmith, K. (2006). The roles of retribution and utility in determining punishment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 437-451.

Golash, D. (2005). The case against punishment: retribution, crime prevention, and the law. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Markel, D. (2004). Against mercy. Minnesota Law Review, 88, 1421-1480.

Motilal, S. (2010). Applied ethics and human rights: Conceptual analysis and contextual applications. New Delhi: Anthem Press.

Radelet, M., & Akers, R. (1996). Deterrence and the death penalty: the views of the experts.…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Cahill, M. (2007). Retributive justice in the real world. Washington University Law Review, 85, 815-870.

Carlsmith, K. (2006). The roles of retribution and utility in determining punishment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 437-451.

Golash, D. (2005). The case against punishment: retribution, crime prevention, and the law. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Markel, D. (2004). Against mercy. Minnesota Law Review, 88, 1421-1480.

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