Just Desert

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Assault Pages: 3 (902 words) Published: April 10, 2008
The concept of criminal choice has brought about the creation of policies referred to a just desert. The just desert theory is a practical concept that purports a punishment is needed to preserve the social equity disturbed by crime; however, the level of punishment should be fitting with the crime. The Just desert model suggests that retribution justifies punishment because individuals deserve what they received for past deeds, but punishment based on deterrence is wrong because it involves an offender’s future actions, which cannot be predicted. Under the just desert theory the punishment should be the same for all people who commit the same crime. Arguments in favor of just desert

Simons (2000) makes a persuasive argument for just desert punishment presenting three somewhat concrete arguments in favor of just desert. The first argument is that the theory is fair to the offender in that the punishment fits the crime; same punishment of all offenders for the same crime, etc. The model does not allow punishment of the innocent in order to serve a large social good which is referred to as the utilitarian theory. Just desert does not authorize selecting a criminal for particularly cruel punishment by lottery or some other random drawing, even if this would expend fewer overall social resources than imposing lower and proportionate punishment on all similar offenders, which is referred to as the consequentiality theory. More generally, proponents of the theory would not permit ideal punishment of a criminal that is unequal to his or her just deserts, even if this would serve as an important deterrent function or would placate community fury (Simons, 2000). Basically, retributivists would place important restrictions on the state’s capability to encourage social welfare at the expenditure of equality to the individual defendant. Therefore, it is fair to the offender, and prevent a punishment that did not fit the crime committed (Simons, 2000) Second,...
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