Explore BrainMass
Share

Introduction to the theory of Punishment

This content was STOLEN from BrainMass.com - View the original, and get the already-completed solution here!

I outline and explain the philosophical problems relating to punishment, and the main normative approaches toward providing a justification for this social and legal practice.

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 19, 2018, 9:13 pm ad1c9bdddf
https://brainmass.com/philosophy/ethics-morals/introduction-theory-punishment-54003

Solution Preview

Please see attached file.

THE CONCEPT OF PUNISHMENT

• Criminal law PROHIBITS certain sorts of actions

E.g.: murder, rape, assault, and burglary, fraud...

When a person has contravened these laws then he/she is liable for punishment.

• BUT: What the state DOES to criminals looks a lot like what they're being punishing for...(!)

Capital punishment deprives a person of his/her life
Incarceration involves taking away someone's freedom
Fining involves taking away some of the offender's money

DEFINITION:

"Punishment under law... is the authorized imposition of deprivations -- of freedom or privacy or other goods ... or the imposition of special burdens - because the person has been found guilty of some criminal violation" (Bedau 2003).

MAIN POINT:

• Since punishment apparently involves doing all sorts of nasty things to people- which would not normally be permitted- it REQUIRES JUSTIFICATION.

• Two of the main aims of a normative theory of punishment are:

(1) EXPLAIN why punishment is justified

It is important to distinguish between,

(1) Justification of a particular act of punishment
(2) Justification of the institution of punishment

TO SEE THE DIFFERENCE, CONSIDER THESE TWO QUESTIONS:

Why is anyone punished?
Why is this person punished?

So, for instance, the INSTITUTION OF PUNISHMENT might very well be justified, even when a PARTICULAR ACT is NOT

(2) To provide the basis for assessing the appropriate measure of punishment...

E.g., WHAT MEASURE of punishment is fitting for a PARTICULAR crime?
-"An eye for an eye"?

TYPES OF THEORIES:

Normative theories of punishment ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines the introduction to the theory of punishments. The social and legal practices are given.

$2.19