Criminological debate has propounded polarised theorem as to the most efficacious method to punish offenders within the criminal justice system. Whilst academics agree on the concept of "punishment" as a necessary means they "disagree on the underlying reason that makes punishment appropriate and a justified response to social norm violations." (Carlsmith & Daley., 2002, p.284). However, from a moral perspective, the underlying question regarding punishment is clearly unanimous in asking "what justifies the infliction of punishment on people?" (Carlsmith & Daley., 2002). One line of argument propounds that the punishment's primary purpose is to pay back harm caused as retribution for past crimes (Darley, Sanderson & LaMatnia, 1996; Kahneman, Schkade & Sunstein, 1998; Rossi, Waite, Bose & Berk, 1974); others claim that the central purpose is to prevent or reduce future crimes (Jeremy Bentham 1962); thereby implementing two diverging and broad justifications for the use of punishment of offenders.
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[...] Moreover, the deterrence theory models are clearly dogmatic in ignoring the interrelationship between causality in criminal behaviour and it is submitted that this should form the focus of future criminological development of the deterrence theory in context of offender punishment within the penal system. It is further submitted that until the interrelationship between causality and deterrence is evaluated further, any such general deterrence theory model based on social factors is inherently limited in efficacy. Similarly, causality in criminal conduct is an essential element in effective offender punishment under the retribution theory, which is further highlighted by Carlsmith and Daley's studies of the psychology of punishment. [...]
[...] Available at www.homeoffice.gov.uk Hough, M., (2002) Drug User treatment within a criminal justice context. Substance Use and Misuse Volume 31: p.895-926. Andrew Von Hirsch., (1976). Doing Justice The Choice of Punishments (Report of the Committee for the Study of Incarceration). D. Kahneman., D. Schkade., & C.R. Sunstein., (1998). Shared outrage and erratic awards: The psychology of punitive damages. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. Volume 16: pp.49-86. I. Kant., (1952). The science of right. (W. Hastie, Trans). In R.Hutchins (Ed.) Great books of the Western world: Volume 42: pp.397-446. [...]
[...] This further highlights the need to consider the factors highlighted by Seddon at the stage of sentencing in order to consider the best way to punish offenders going forward. Alternatively, the retribution theory covers four further categories; namely vengeance, expiation, censure/denunciation and just deserts (Carlsmith & Darley., 2002). The latter is the most commonly accepted within the retribution model. Vengeance ultimately seeks suffering in order to exact revenge and operates at two levels. Firstly, from the perspective of satisfying the victim's need for vengeance, which is sanctioned at state level. [...]
[...] Moreover, the varying results arguably highlight the inherent flaw in polarising deterrence and retribution theories in order to justify an all encompassing and conclusive preposition for how best to punish offenders within the criminal justice system and suggest that an interrelationship between the two should arguably be evaluated in considering how best to punish offenders, particularly in context of causality of criminal behaviour patterns. The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate in context of the main competing theories how best the criminal justice system should punish offenders. [...]
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