What are the objectives of Punishment? Punishment has several objectives, including deterrence, retribution, incapacitation and rehabilitation & reform.
Deterrence This is the main objective of punishment and is aimed at deterring potential criminals from taking the risk of committing a crime and being caught. For example if someone steals sunglasses from a shop and is caught it is sufficient to just return the sunglasses but the penalties for theft are much harsher to deter the offender from committing the same crime again.
There are two types of deterrence: - deterring the offender from committing a crime in the future (special deterrence) - deterring the general public from committing a similar crime (general deterrence) Retribution Pure retribution means that the punishment is exactly equivalent to the crime committed. For example if you cut someone's hand off your hand is cut off. But in Australia this objective is translated into the idea that the more serious the crime the more serious the punishment.
Incapacitation This objective aims to isolate the offender so he/she cannot commit another crime. For example if you murder someone then you are put in jail so you cannot repeat this crime, you are kept in jail until you are not considered to be a danger to society.
Rehabilitation or Reform The objective of the punishment is to change the behaviour of the offender so that he/she will not commit another crime. This involves teaching the offender a trade so he/she will be able to join the workforce when they are released from prison .The theory behind this is that if the offender is taught a trade in jail, when they are released they become capable of earning money legally and will not have to return to crime to obtain the money.