Retribution as the Ground for Punishment

Crime and Punishment: Issues in Criminal Justice, Fred E. Baumann and Kenneth M. Jensen, eds. (Public Affairs Conference Center, Kenyon College, 1989).


When societies do not believe their laws are just, they lack the confidence and strength to punish criminals. Some criminologists and social scientists in the past argued that retribution was barbaric, and they stressed rehabilitation over punishment. In recent years, however, rehabilitation has failed to deter crime, and retribution has been seen as a legitimate act for the State when individuals have deliberately committed crimes. To preserve the values of the community, laws must punish criminals, for only then is the legitimate anger of law-abiding citizens assuaged.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
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