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    Introduction to the theory of Punishment

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    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.

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    https://brainmass.com/philosophy/ethics-morals/introduction-theory-punishment-54003

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    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.

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