Philosophies of punishment

Four “philosophies of punishment” (also known as “sentencing justifications”) are: retribution (also known as “just desserts”), deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation. From the beginning of the Twentieth Century and through the mid 1970’s many wardens and legislators suggested that the purpose of incarceration was to rehabilitate offenders. However, in the 70’s it was demonstrated that criminals were very rarely rehabilitated in American prisons; in fact, most criminals were coming out of prison worse than they were when they went in. I believe this has not significantly changed. Faced with the repudiation of rehabilitation, many wardens and criminologists today settle for the sentencing justification called “just desserts.” This approach is based on the ancient idea of “an eye for an eye,” but today this approach to sentencing is usually explained as giving a criminal what he/she deserves because they broke the law. Theoretically, we all live under a “social contract “with society and if someone refuses to live by the requirements of the social contract, that person is not fit to live in society and it would be justified to imprisoned or even execute that person.

There many philosophies or justifications for sentencing criminals. In the following article the author refers to three distinct philosophical justifications for punishment and also explains the growing trend toward “incapacitation.” The article makes it clear that there are other justifications for punishment such as “ denunciation” and “restorative justice.” Do not limit your research for this Discussion Board Response to this article; it is a starting point.

Research the various philosophies of punishment and write a Response of approximately 400 hundred words describing the punishment philosophy (only ONE) that you believe would be most successful in the real world. Explain why you chose your particular approach and how you envision it could actually work in modern America. The comment must be based in reality, not on an approach that sounds nice but would not actually work.
I want you to research this issue and think carefully about what you believe to be the best philosophy of punishment, describe it BRIEFLY and then use most of your Response statement to explain how the philosophy you describe could realistically operate in today’s world. If you propose a program that would require many millions of dollars to implement, I want you to explain, in practical terms, where that money would come from.

As indicated above, I do not want this Response to consist of long explanations of theoretical sentencing justifications. No more than one hundred words should be used to explain the philosophy of punishment you choose; the bulk of your Response must be devoted to the practical implementation of that philosophy


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