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Menninger's "Therapy, not Punishment"

I present and analyze Karl Menninger's well known argument that the system of criminal punishment ought to be replaced with a rehabilitative therapeutic system.

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KARL MENNINGER'S ARGUMENT AGAINST PUNISHMENT:

OVERVIEW:

I present and analyze psychiatrist Karl Menninger's well known argument that the system of criminal punishment ought to be replaced with a rehabilitative therapeutic system.

MENNINGER'S MAIN CLAIMS:

• Criminal Punishment is a ultimately a waste of time

-The institution of punishment does not effectively reduce crime.

-Recall that the Utilitarian tried to justify the institution of punishment on the grounds that it deters potential wrongdoers from committing crimes or repeating them.

• The system of punishment ought to be replaced by a SYSTEM OF THERAPY

NOTE:

• Menninger is clearly working from within a Utilitarian framework

The justification for punishment as institution, is CRIME REDUCTION

He does not even consider a RETRIBUTIVE justifications for punishment.

The reason for this, presumably, is that he thinks that ideas of MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, GUILT, and RETRIBUTION are pernicious myths...

We'll return to this point later...

ARGUMENT OVERVIEW:

1. The punishment system has hitherto been justified in terms of its effectiveness in REDUCING CRIME

More particularly in terms of its deterrent effects

2. BUT: The institution of punishment does not have effective deterrent effects.

BECAUSE:

-Criminals are people who are pathological, irrational

-They don't work on the same [rational] principles as 'normal people'...

3. Since the point of having a penal system is to control crime, we should find another way of achieving this end.

4. Given the fact that criminals are pathological, treatment and not punishment is the correct response to criminal violations.

Criminals require THERAPY, NOT PUNISHMENT

AGAINST THE DETERRENCE THEORY

• The deterrence theory of punishment has some initial plausibility:

The way to control behaviour is to reward what is good and punish what is bad.

COMPARE:

Man is governed by two masters, pleasure and pain... [Bentham]

ARGUMENT:

1. The penal institution is justified, only if the threat of punishment deters potential offenders from committing crimes.

2. With some qualification, the threat of prison/ punishment does not deter ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines Menninger`s "therapy, not punishment".

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