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Punishment Research Paper

1125 words - 5 pages

Does the punishment fit the crime? Will the punishment deter the crime? Thesequestions are asked every day when someone goes before the court for crimes they havecommitted. The justified punishments include retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and social protection. Although most cases are bargained down from the maximum sentence for the crime,there is still justified punishment in one way or another.Retribution has been around since the beginning of time. It says that the punishmentshould be equal to the severity of the crime. The offender is supposed to suffer as much as thecrime has caused the suffering. It is thought that that the victim is owed something by theoffender to make up ...view middle of the document...

To pay retribution to the family, he was ordered by the courts to pay $8.5 million
(Ayres, 1997)
. In today¶s society, there are no other effectiveforms of retribution other than money. However, when someone has a great deal of wealth or
knows that they are unable to afford to pay their fines, this is not an effective form of punishmentin America today. Often this form will not deter others from committing similar crimes.Another justification of punishment used in today¶s society is deterrence. Deterrenceworks in two separate ways. The first way is try to prevent repeat offenders from committingcrimes again. By punishing them with jail time or community service, the idea is that they willassociate their punishment with future crimes. If they feel that the punishment is worse than theenjoyment received from committing the crime, they may be less likely to repeat a crime. Thesecond form of deterrence is to prevent crimes from being committed by making examples out of past criminals. If people see what punishments they may face by committing certain crimes,they make think twice before committing them. Deterrence can play a role in preventing certaincrimes depending upon the severity of the crime and the punishment
(Geerken & Grove, 1977)
.Lesser crimes such as stealing whose punishment may be community service, short jail stay or even probation, do not tend to deter future criminals. If the person is not caught, then their financial gain may outweigh the price of the punishment. Even if the person is caught andconvicted of their crime, with the low penalties for these petty crimes, the chances of a personrepeating their offence is high. However, with more serious crimes such murder, kidnapping andrape, the punishments such as life in jail or even the death penalty are put in place to not onlymake the person pay for the crime but also to deter future crimes. Although statistics show thatthe death penalty may not be deterring murders. The states without the death penalty have alower number of murders per capita compared to those with the death penalty (2007).The next justification for punishment is rehabilitation. This is a relatively new idea in the prevention of future crimes. The idea behind rehabilitation is that if society is able to change or heal the offender, they may be able to steer that person in the right direction and they can
become meaningful members of society. Rehabilitation focuses on teaching criminals how to behave properly...

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