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NCJ Number: 63947 Find in a Library
Title: PERSPECTIVES ON PUNISHMENT
Journal: TEXAS HUMANIST  Dated:(OCTOBER 1979)  Pages:1,8-10
Author(s): J B MOORE
Corporate Author: Texas Cmtte for the Humanities and Public Policy
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Texas Cmtte for the Humanities and Public Policy
TX
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ARTICLE DISCUSSES THE CONTRIBUTIONS THAT PHILOSOPHERS COULD MAKE TO ANALYZING CURRENT THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT, PARTICULARLY RETRIBUTION.
Abstract: THE SUBJECT OF PUNISHMENT HAS BEEN NEGLECTED BY PHILOSOPHERS, AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE ADVOCATED RETRIBUTIVE THEORY HAVE BEEN SEVERELY CRITICIZED. HOWEVER, IN THE LAST 15 YEARS THEORETICIANS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO ACCOMMODATE RETRIBUTION WITH UTILITARIAN VIEWS OF PUNISHMENT BY FOCUSING ON ISSUES INVOLVING DEFINITIONS AND JUSTIFICATIONS. THE UTILITARIAN CONCEPT OF PUNISHMENT DOMINATED UNTIL THE MID-1960'S WHEN THE REHABILITATIVE AND DETERRENT ASPECTS OF THE PENAL SYSTEM CAME UNDER ATTACK. PUNISHMENT CAN BE SSEN AS MORALLY IMPERMISSABLE OR INEFFECTIVE, ALBEIT JUSTIFIABLE. THE DIVERGENCY OF OPINION ON PUNISHMENT HAS RESULTED IN A REEXAMINATION OF RETRIBUTION AS A VIABLE CONCEPT. TRADITIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS COULD HELP IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF PUNISHMENT THROUGH CRITICAL REASONING AND INFERENCE, CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS AND CLARIFICATION, AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GUIDELINES BACKED BY VALID REASONS. FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN CLASSICAL TECHNIQUES ARE APPLIED TO RETRIBUTION AND REHABILITATION, THE TWO IDEAS ARE NOT INCOMPATIBLE BUT MERELY DIFFERENT. PHILOSOPHERS CAN ALSO ASSIST IN FORMULATING QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED TO JUSFITY A PARTICULAR SANCTION. RETRIBUTION HAS BEEN CONFUSED WITH REVENGE AND RESTITUTION AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY INVOLVE IMPRISONMENT. ANALYSIS SHOULD SHIFT FROM RETRIBUTION AND UTILITARIANISM TO CONCEPTS OF DESERT, GUILT, MERIT, JUSTICE, RIGHTS, AND THE COMMON GOOD. THE ISSUE OF WHETHER THE COUNTRY SHOULD HAVE CRIMINAL LAWS WITH SANCTIONS SHOULD INSPIRE A DISCUSSION OF STANDARDS WITH EMPHASIS ON RESOLVING QUESTIONS OF DESERT. EVEN IF THE STATE IS JUSTIFIED IN PUNISHING, ITS PRESENT SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE REFORMED. SINCE ALL CURRENT THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED, RETRIBUTIVISTS COULD PROVIDE A FRESH APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Deterrence; Just deserts theory; Punishment; Rehabilitation; Restitution
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63947

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