Justifications for Punishment in Modern Society

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Provide the justifications for punishment in modern society. Punishment functions as a form of social control and is geared towards “imposing some unwanted burden such as fines, probations, imprisonment, or even death” on a convicted person in return for the crimes they committed (Stohr, Walsh, & Hemmens, 2013, p.6). There are four main justifications for punishment and they are: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation. There is also said to be a fifth justification of reintegration as well. Retribution is what most commonly referred to as the “just deserts” model that says the punishment should match the “degree of harm a criminal has inflicted on their victims” (Stohr, Walsh, & Hemmens, 2013, p.6). In other words, what they “justly deserve”. Where minor crimes should expect a minor punishment, those who commit more severe crimes should expect to be met with just as severe of a punishment in return. An example, some believe that when someone kills someone else, that person should then, in turn, receive the death penalty (depending on the state this would also be allowed or expected by law). Deterrence suggests that people are “deterred” from a crime by the threat of punishment. In other words, people won’t commit a crime if the ramifications that were to follow are so severe. Deterrence comes in two flavors, specific and general. Specific deterrence refers to the “threat of punishment” being directly aimed towards a particular individual who has already committed the crime through actually experiencing the punishment first hand. An example of this may be, being convicted of a crime and as a result being sentenced to so many years in jail or prison. However, in order for it to be successful, the “previously ... ... middle of paper ... ...ernment. On the other hand, probation is a judicial function. Also, parolees have already spent time in prison before being released into to the community while probationers usually haven’t (in most states). In some jurisdictions, both are supervised by state employed officers or agents, while in others they are supervised by separate probation or parole agencies (Stohr, Walsh, & Hemmens, 2013, p.270). Parole and probation officer (sometimes these jobs are combined in some jurisdictions) have two common roles: to protect the community and to assist the probationers/parolees to become more productive, law-abiding members of the community. This dual role makes them both law enforcement officers as well as social workers. Works Cited Stohr, M., Walsh, A., & Hemmens, C. (2013). Corrections: A Text/Reader (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
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