Theories of Punishment
Question - ‘What form of punishment should lawmakers seek to develop in Australia?” Introduction
Good morning class, today I will be talking to you about the 3 main forms of punishment and the form of punishment that lawmakers should seek to develop in Australia. The three justifications for punishment currently used in our society today are retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation. Our society today uses these three forms of punishment attempting to lower crime rates
Origins and overview of the three forms of punishment
Retribution is the first of the three forms of punishment that I will be discussing. The theory of retribution is that the guilty should be punished for the harm they have caused within society. Retribution is defined as the most ideal form of revenge to make the offender suffer as much as he or she has caused the victim. This type of punishment is the oldest of the three. It originated from the bible from Exodus 21:23 "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand" Nowadays the consequences are not nearly as brutal as they would be have been given in the middle ages and even still given in some parts of the world today but real consequences are still given for the different criminal acts committed by offenders here in Australia.
I will now be speaking to you about the second of the three punishments ‘deterrence’. The main aim of deterrence is to teach the offender not to repeat the crime and to deter others from committing and following the offenders example. This theory was used as a military strategy during the ‘cold war’ relating to the uses of nuclear weapons.
Rehabilitation is more there to restore the patient to the highest level of health and to give encouragement so the act they committed will not be repeated in the future. The first approach to use rehabilitation in criminals happened in the late eighteenth century and was primarily directed towards the juvenile offenders. The Pennsylvania Quakers used very strict religious rules and punishments to force juvenile criminals to see the fault of what they have done. These methods evolved into more of a retribution system. Since then there has been an increased interest in this sort of method of treatment for criminals, it eventually become one of the three forms of punishment.
Nature of these forms of punishment
The punishment is for the wrongfulness of the act, and is not intended as a deterrent. The punishment should be equal to the offence, meaning the harshness of the punishment should reflect the seriousness of the crime. For example, in many Muslim countries the punishment for stealing is having your hand cut off at the wrist. Therefore because of this there is very little stealing in Muslim countries
There are two forms of deterrence; general deterrence and individual deterrence. General deterrence aims to make an example to discourage others from crime. Individual deterrence aims to deter the individual from committing the crime again. A small example of a deterrent is a speeding ticket, to scare you and prevent you from speeding again and putting others and your own life at stake.
Rehabilitation is based on the person being given treatment and training so they can go back into society and not commit crime in the future. Individuals who support rehabilitation believe that criminals can be "made better" so that they can re-enter society as good citizens who do the right thing. Rehabilitation can include probation, education, and group therapy. For example an offender may have committed a crime due to the fact he or she was under the influence of alcohol due to an alcohol or drug addiction therefore the judge may choose to send the offender to rehab to receive the help he or she needs.
Effectiveness of These Forms of Punishment