Utilitarian vs Retributive

Topics: Utilitarianism, Punishment, Crime Pages: 2 (574 words) Published: December 18, 2012
Darwing Silva

Utilitarian and retributive theory of punishment
Utilitarian Theorists believe that punishment should be developed based on what is best for the public as a whole. Utilitarian theorists are forward looking as opposed to retribution theorists. The goal of utilitarian theorists is to prevent a crime from happening again. In a general sense this means that the punishment for a certain crime needs to be great than the possible reward for committing the crime. A utilitarian theorist believes that if this appropriate level of punishment is met, most individuals will be deterred from committing the crime. Kant objects to the utilitarian approach as he claims it is practical and political. Kant believes the punishment must fit the crime and punishment itself when carried out accordingly and just, punishment is not evil. Kant’s moral theory is not especially preoccupied with punishment, and should not be thought of as primarily a theory of punishment. The reason for considering punishment at such length here is that in doing so, we can come to a better understanding of what Kant thought, and how he dissented from the utilitarian view, on the subjects of the moral importance of individuals’ well-being and what it means to treat someone with respect Utilitarian Theorists believe that punishment should also be specifically tailored to the individual so that he will not commit future crimes. For example, an utilitarian theorist would believe strongly in incarcerating, or incapacitating, or even executing an individual who is likely to commit another crime The practical problem with this belief is that it is hard to identify specific individuals who will become repeat offenders. In addition, this belief may be in conflict with the idea of punishing consistently. The public believes that punishment is not consistent and therefore punishment...
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