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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 43085 Find in a Library
Title: CONCESSIONS TO RETRIBUTION IN PUNISHMENT (FROM JUSTICE AND PUNISHMENT, 1977, BY J.B. CEDERBLOM AND WILLIAM L. BLIZEK-SEE NCJ-43084)
Author(s): H A BEDAU
Corporate Author: Ballinger Publishing Co
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Ballinger Publishing Co
Cambridge, MA 02138
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY, AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS INVOLVED WHEN RETRIBUTIVISM IS USED AS THE BASIS OF A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE DISCUSSED. THE MORAL ISSUES ARE EXAMINED.
Abstract: RETRIBUTION IS ONE OF THE OLDEST THEORIES OF CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT AND IS AGAIN BECOMING A POPULAR PHILOSOPHY. IDEALLY, THE THREAT OF RETRIBUTION IS ENOUGH TO DETER THE CRIMINAL, BUT IN PRACTICE THIS SELDOM HAPPENS. ALSO IDEALLY, THE PUNISHMENT FITS THE CRIME -- NEITHER TOO SERVERE NOR TOO LENIENT. IN PRACTICE, THIS TOO SELDOM HAPPENS. FUNDAMENTALLY, SIX PRINCIPLES CHARACTERIZE RETRIBUTIVISM: (1)PUNISHMENT IS IMPOSED ONLY FOR INTENTIONAL HARMS; (2)PUNISHMENT MUST BE A DEPRIVATION; (3)THE GUILTY DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED; (4)THE SEVERITY OF THE PUNISHMENT SHOULD MATCH THE GRAVITY OF THE OFFENSE; (5)A JUST SOCIETY MUST PUNISH CRIMINALS, NOT REHABILITATE OR TREAT THEM, IN ORDER TO RESPECT THEM AS PERSONS; AND (6)NO ONE MAY BE PUNISHED WHO LACKS A 'MEAN REA' FOR HIS ACT (IS MENTALLY COMPETENT). CRITICS SAY THAT USE OF CRIMINAL LAW FOR MORALIZING IS WASTEFUL OF RESOURCES AND INEFFECTIVE. THE BELIEF THAT THE GUILTY DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED ALSO COLLIDES WITH OTHER CONSIDERATIONS OF JUSTICE AND MORALITY, WHILE THE BELIEF THAT THE PUNISHMENT MUST FIT THE CRIME LEADS TO ENDLESS ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHICH PUNISHMENTS INDEED FIT WHICH CRIMES THE RETRIBUTION THEORY IS TOTALLY UNINTERESTED IN COMPENSATING THE VICTIM NOR DOES IT CONCERN ITSELF WITH BASIC CAUSES OF CRIME: THESE CONSIDERATIONS ARE LEFT TO THE UTILITARIAN.
Index Term(s): Punishment; Sentencing/Sanctions; Socioculture; Theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43085

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