Essays on retributive justice


essays on retributive justice

the punishment? He has taken a life, therefore his own becomes forfeit. Therefore ones own desires or wishes cannot be taken into account when making a decision, as no one persons desires should be prioritized above anothers.

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This paper will focus on retributive justice and restorative justice - Retributive Justice.
Restorative Justice Essay introduction.

However, if A is punished via capital punishment, it is not to gain any advantage, it is merely to punish A for the crime he has committed in a proportionate manner. This is true as well when no rights violation is in view, as when dealing with a purely regulatory offense. It is a symbol that is conceptually required to reaffirm a victim's equal worth in the face of a challenge. The wrong of being raped is not the message that the rapist sends; it is the rape. Such a fine would be punitive for the poor offender while insignificant for the millionaire. 4.5 Strength of retributive reasons How strong are retributive reasons? Deterrence is one of the primary objects of the Criminal Law. Serving the full year, after spending six months in jail already, would seem to be a disproportionate sentence.

In the 19th century, philosopher Immanuel Kant argued in Metaphysics of Morals,., that retribution is the only legitimate form of punishment the court can prescribe. The following comments merely summarize the points that are most important for the purpose of understanding retributivism. Namely, that peoples actions are often dictated by circumstance, which obviously would not be taken into consideration under the guide lines laid out by Kant, and presented throughout this essay. Some respond to this point by adopting a mixed theory, according to which retributivism provides a necessary condition for punishment, but consequentialist considerations provide the reasons to punish (Hart 1968:. Nonetheless, his measure for theft swings to the overly punitive side, leaving the convicted thief a dependent on the state, and thereby reduced to the status of a slave for a certain time, or permanently if the state sees fit (ibid.). But one more should be brought up here, namely the implication for post-sentence deprivations, such as being subject to preventive detention if one is predictably very dangerous. And retributivists should not duck what it means to commit such a mistake: it wrongs the innocent person. Some think that retributivism is inherently inclined towards cruel harshness (Dolinko 1991; Garland 2001; Whitman 2003; Ristroff 2009 but this is a mistake (Robinson 2008; Flanders 2010; Gray and Huber 2010; Duus-Otterström 2013). The classical definition embraces the idea that the amount of punishment must be proportionate to the amount of harm caused by the offence. Punishment in the form of harsh treatment can then be thought of as pay back in the sense that it strips away that advantage and restores the status quo ante that was wrongfully disturbed. William the Conquerors son, Henry I, issued laws detailing offenses against the kings peace. (ibid.: 33) His unfair advantage should be erased by exacting the debt (ibid.: 34).

This second prong may lead back, however, to a search for a better justification for retributivism. It is hard to see why a desert theorist could not take the same position. It's unclear why the punishment should rise above some baseline-level, in proportion with the gravity of the wrong, to show that we mean. Thus a more reasonable conclusion to draw, in the face of epistemic uncertainty, is that any given schedule of punishments should stick to the lower end of the intuitively acceptable spectrum of punishments (Duus-Otterström 2013). Only in this way can one feel confident that retributive intuitions are a form of insight into retributive justice, rather than the crabbed judgments of a squinty soul.


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