Theories of Punishment Research Paper

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Taking punishment to be the infliction of suffering for an offense, we may say that, traditionally, theories about the justification of punishment have been divided into retributivist and nonretributivist, with further sub-categories in each category. In this research paper, we shall take retributive theories to hold that the connection between the aim of punishment and the method used to achieve this aim is conceptual, not causal.

A simple retributive theory holds that the justification of punishment is simply that offenders deserve to be punished – for no further reason than that they have done wrong. A different theory is that offenders take an unfair advantage over non-offenders and punishment restores the just balance of benefits and burdens. A third theory also emphasizes the desert of the offender, but holds that what offenders deserve is the opportunity to reform: punishment provides the occasion for this. A fourth type of theory holds that the point of punishment is allow the community to express its condemnation of the offender, or of the offense. Such condemnation might be intrinsically good; or it may be that it is required for the offender to admit wrongdoing and be reconciled with the community.

Non-retributive justifications of punishment usually, though not invariably, hold that much the most important point of punishment is the reduction of crime, and probably the most common way in which it is thought to do this is by deterring potential offenders, sufficiently so as to justify its costs. Quite differently, some forms of punishment also make it impossible, or at least very difficult, for offenders to re-offend (prison and execution being the most obvious examples). A third non-retributive theory, paralleling the retributive version of the reform theory, is that punishment reforms offenders, or at least gives the opportunity for them to be rehabilitated, but, unlike the retributive version, this theory holds that punishment is simply one method among other ways of achieving this aim, a method to be discarded if it is not found to reduce the level of crime. And there is also a non-retributive version of the expressive theory, which also holds that punishment helps to reduce crime, perhaps by educating the population about the wrongness, or illegality, of offenses, or by allowing the vicarious desire for revenge an official outlet, or inducing shame in the offender.


Punishment we may take to be the infliction of suffering for an offense. We may thus distinguish punishment from restitution and compensation. One is punished for an offense: One is not required to make restitution or to compensate for an offense but for the damage that one has caused. (When courts order “punitive damages,” punishment and compensation are being run together.) We may also distinguish punishment from medical treatment. Medical treatment is not administered for an offense, though it may be administered because of an offense.

The aims of punishment may be many and various: They might include, for instance, propitiating the gods, or trying to make it rain. But this research paper will deal with the main aims that have been put forward as justifications for the modern state in punishing its citizens.

So we are concerned here with the classifications of punishment according to what its aims are thought to be. There are, of course, other theories of punishment, such as theories about its historical origins, or its evolutionary purpose, but these theories are not our concern.

But speaking of “aims” too is ambiguous. The word could refer to its sociological function, for instance, but again this is not our concern. We are concerned with the aims that might be thought to justify punishment, and to justify it morally, not merely explain it. The sociological claim that punishment serves some function such as promoting solidarity, for instance, is not typically offered as a moral justification for it, though it may explain its origin or persistence.

Punishment requires a moral justification because when we punish someone we do to them something which, in most other contexts, it would be wrong to do: Punishment involves the infliction of suffering. The suffering might be relatively slight (a small fine) or it might involve serious deprivation of liberty or even of life. The theories we shall be concerned with aim to offer a moral justification for this. There are a few theorists who think that punishment is not in fact justifiable; (Boonin 2008) takes this view, suggesting that restitution should take the place of punishment. Others have suggested that restitution, instead of replacing punishment, should be thought of as its main aim. But most people think that punishment, in its normal understanding, is justifiable by one or more of the traditional theories.

Justifying punishment might be thought to be either, or both, of two different things. First, the focus might be on finding a justification for a particular act of punishing someone. Such an act, it might be thought, could be carried out, properly called “punishment,” and justified, even if there were no penal institutions of any sort. Second, the focus could be on the justification of a penal institution or system itself: Why is it permissible for a state, or a community, to set up a system in which people are actually punished if they contravene some set of norms? And a theory might try to answer both of these questions.


“Retributivist” Theories

A traditional way of classifying theories of punishment divides them into retributive and non-retributive theories. It is questionable how precisely theorists have used this classification: Retribution has been defined in lots of ways that are clearly not logically equivalent, and it will be useful to stipulate a definition that captures something like the basic thought. By a “retributive theory” will be meant a theory of punishment which holds that the connection between the aim of punishment and the method used to achieve this aim is conceptual, not causal. All other theories will be called “non-retributive.” So a theory that holds that the aim of punishment is simply to make offenders suffer for their offenses will be retributive: On such a theory, it is conceptually necessary for achieving this aim that one can make offenders suffer for their offenses. By contrast, the deterrence theory is a non-retributive theory: It holds that the aim of punishment is the prevention of crime, but the connection between punishment and the prevention of crime is purely contingent and causal.

This division lines up fairly closely with some other characterizations, such as that retributive theories are “backward looking” (since the justification for punishment lies in what was done in the past), whereas other theories are “forward looking.” But it is not an obvious necessary truth that future actions cannot merit retribution – New (1992) suggests that future acts may legitimately be the object of punishment and of retribution. The common use of the word “consequentialist” to denote non-retributive theories is, however, misleading, because it does not distinguish between causal consequences and logical consequences. The perhaps more common use of the word “utilitarian” to denote non-retributive theories is even more misleading, since most such theories are not actually utilitarian in the proper sense of the word. But there is, of course, no possibility of exactly aligning a precise theory with a range of theories which is not precise.

In any case, “internalist” and “retributivist” will be used interchangeably here, and likewise “externalist” and “non-retributivist”.

In popular thought, the idea of retribution typically suggests that a punishment should consist of “eye for eye, tooth for a tooth.. .”, sometimes referred to as the Lex Talionis (see, e.g., Exodus 21:22ff., Leviticus 24:17ff., Deuteronomy 19:16ff.). This is not necessarily a retributivist theory, since it does not actually mention an aim of punishment. But in any case, it is inapplicable to most offenses (loitering, speeding on the highway): The phrase is also sometimes used to justify punishments that clearly do not follow its rule, such as cutting off the hands of thieves. And despite the, perhaps, poetic justice in such amputations, they are usually justified by reference to their deterrent effect. Few serious thinkers now regard the Lex Talionis, as just described, as a viable theory of punishment, though some defend it at least as an ideal to which punishment should aspire even if it never fully realizes that aspiration (Reiman 1985).

Simple Desert

A more sophisticated attempt to justify punishment on retributive grounds we may call the Simple Desert Theory, which simply holds that offenders deserve to suffer in proportion to their wrongdoing: Their wrongdoing is some function of the harm that they caused and their culpability in causing it (Moore 1993; Moore 1997; Moore 2009). In principle, perhaps, their deserving to suffer gives anyone the right or the duty to punish them because if they remain unpunished the “universe is morally out of joint.” Typically, however, the state takes this role by setting up institutions that are thought to be the most efficient and just way of seeing to it that offenders get the suffering they deserve; but however elaborate the penal system may be, the individual punishment does not derive its justification from the system; the reverse is the case. There is no further explanation of why wrongdoers deserve to suffer: This is simply a basic, foundational moral truth.

Some people think that a punishment and an offense are strictly incommensurable, so that no sense can be attached to the idea that offenders deserve punishment “in proportion” to their offense, so that assigning punishments in this way can be, at best, expressing the arbitrary will of the community. For an attempt to overcome this problem, see Davis (1983). Others find it hard to accept that desert here is a basic notion with nothing further to explain it. Others think that no one deserves to be made to suffer (Braithwaite and Pettit 1990, p. 175; Parfit 2010, p. 455). And many think that the notion of simple desert is merely vicarious revenge dressed in the language of justice.

Just Distribution

But this is not the only way that the notion of moral desert can be the basis for a theory of punishment. One might agree that offenders deserve to suffer, but hold that there is a further, more basic, reason for this. That is the position of what might be called the Just Distribution Theory and it has been held by many theorists (for two out of a great many proponents, see Morris 1976 and von Hirsch 1976). Here, the general idea is that society requires its members to make certain sacrifices in return for the goods that society makes possible; the members must, e.g., curb their desires to harm other members of society, and this represents a cost to them. The offender, in offending, in not curbing such desires, does not carry his fair share of this burden, and so has gained an unfair advantage over the other members of his society. Fairness requires that this advantage should be taken away, and the suffering involved in a proportionate punishment achieves this. (This theory requires, of course, a functioning society but not, in principle, any set of penal institutions; but, again, questions of efficiency and justice might justify the state in taking over this function).

This theory need not suffer from the problem of incommensurability. It will depend on the precise account of the burden that was not carried in an offense. Merely described as not curbing one’s desires might suggest that some form of imprisonment might match this, but not, say, a small fine, and small fines are the majority of punishments administered, even in the USA. There has been considerable dispute among adherents as to how to specify the nature of the wrongdoing so as to overcome this question. We may add that the theory, originally a least, was based upon the so-called Principle of Fair Play. There has been considerable discussion about this principle itself and its applicability to punishment.

Reform Theory

Jean Hampton has argued that the ultimate aim of punishment is the prevention of crime (Hampton 1984, p. 211), but that offenders, like anyone else, can deserve only good (in this life, at least), not unproductive suffering. So punishment must be a good to the offender. So long as that is true, then it seems as if the ultimate aim of punishment can only be through reform of the offender. She was also impressed by the thought that punishment, like all human actions, must respect a demanding conception of autonomy and thus not coerce the offender’s reform. So punishment must make real to the offender the wrong that he did by making him suffer for it, but it leaves him to decide whether to accept the lesson or not.

But this is not an easy thesis to sustain. There is, as we shall see, a non-retributivist reform theory. However, the claim that punishment reforms offenders, offered as an empirical claim, has little evidence to support it. (The classic work was R. Martinson et al. 1974. The conclusion, based on recidivism, itself part of a larger study using other measures, did not conclude that “Nothing Works,” as is often said, but only that nothing had been shown to work.) And indeed Hampton claims that it is a conceptual claim. This seems to rest upon the further claims that the wrongness of offenses consists in their causing suffering (which is surely not true for all offenses) and that offenders do not fully understand the suffering that they cause (which seems doubtful in many cases) and that making them suffer is the only way to get them to appreciate this (which also seems doubtful).

Expressive Theories

In later work, Hampton moved toward an Expressivist, or Denunciatory theory (Hampton 1992; Murphy and Hampton 1988). An offense, she claims, demeans the victim, does not show him the respect that he deserves, a respect which, as rational beings, we all share equally. So a moral statement has been made, a message sent, that the wrongdoer is superior to the victim, and this has to be effectively countered. Official pronouncements that the offender is not superior to the victim will not do, because the offense still stands and “counts as evidence that he is” superior (Murphy and Hampton, 128). Punishment is all that can do this: In its mastery of the offender, it reestablishes the worth of the victim. And only punishment can do this, because “any… method, so long as it was still a method for defeating the wrongdoer, would still count as punishment” (Murphy and Hampton 1988, p. 125f.) or “retribution” (Hampton 1992, p. 16).

This theory has many moving parts. For instance, that an offense “sends a message” can be true in only the most trivial sense, since few offenses have that even as a subsidiary aim; and even if such a message is sent, it is not clear that it will necessarily be heard, or believed: and the claim that any method for defeating a wrongdoer would count as punishment does not seem clear: when an unjust invader has been expelled from the invaded country, it has been mastered but not punished.

Antony Duff forges a closer connection between the prevention of crime and the expressive function of punishment. While the ultimate aim of punishment is the prevention of crime (Duff 2003, p. 112), this aim must be achieved by repentance and reform on the part of the offender, and reconciliation between the offender and the community (Duff 2003, 107f.; see also Duff 1986). Duff’s theory is complex, but at its heart lies the notion of penance. Like Hampton, Duff founds his theory on the Kantian requirement of respect for persons, i.e., respect for rational, moral autonomy (Duff 1986, p. 6). His theory also has built into it a “liberal communitarianism”: The legal system should express the community’s moral consensus as to what the law should be. He thinks that these requirements preclude a deterrence theory of punishment because deterrence, instead of appealing to the community’s sense of morality that underlies the law, is simply a system of threats which create reasons for obedience and play upon the potential offender’s fear. The real justification must lie in the goal of reforming the offender and reconciling him with the community. But how is making the offender suffer supposed to achieve this goal? Duff’s answer seems to be through the idea of penance. The offender’s trial and punishment are an expression of the community’s condemnation of the offender’s conduct with the hope that this will bring him to repent of his wrongdoing and condemn himself. Duff thinks that punishment is crucial here because punishment is a form of penance which will induce repentance in the offender (Duff 1986, p. 245; cf. Duff 2003, p. 106). Duff candidly admits in his early work that punishment, as we know it, rarely achieves this end and that moral disaster would follow if we were to give it up. In his later work, he favors such things as victim-offender mediation schemes, probation orders, and community service orders. These are not alternatives to punishment, he says: They, like an imposed penance, “more less fit” the standard definition of punishment and should be understood as punishment “even if this requires us to modify conventional understandings of both mediation and punishment” (Duff 2003, p. 97). (Such programs are in fact typically regarded as forms of punishment, since they involve, at a minimum some sort of deprivation of liberty).

There is much to be discussed here, but, as with Hampton, the main problem is the claim, to which Duff steadfastly holds, that it is a conceptual truth that only punishment – the infliction of suffering – can bring about repentance and reform in the offender. The empirical claim that it can do this is obviously beyond question: that it does so in a significant number of cases seems doubtful. The claim that it is a conceptual truth and that only punishment can do this seems yet more doubtful.

However, the general idea that a justifying aim of punishment is that it expresses denunciation of the offender or the offense has been very influential.

Andrew von Hirsch, for instance, argues that punishment has two aims, neither of which justifies punishment alone, but both of which, taken together, do so. One aim is the prevention of crime. But the mere prevention of crimes does not, by itself, justify punishment: This would leave out a crucial moral dimension. That dimension is supplied by the fact, as claimed by von Hirsch, that punishing an offender necessarily expresses moral disapproval. And the overt expression of disapproval of those we think have done wrong calls for no justification: It is, conceptually, part of what it is to think that someone has done wrong. To express denunciation by causing harm, however, does need justification, and that is presented by the claim that punishment also reduces crime.

Victim Compensation Theory

Last, we should perhaps also mention what are called “victim compensation theories.” The idea here is that victims of a crime deserve not just material compensation, but the satisfaction of seeing those who offended against them brought to justice: If being brought to justice involves being punished (as opposed to merely being convicted), then this aim cannot be achieved without the offender being punished. It is therefore an internalist theory. But, as with many theories, there is in externalist version too: If the ultimate aim is to reduce the likelihood of victims using “Lynch law” to satisfy their desire for justice, then it will be an externalist theory (for there is no conceptual guarantee that making offenders suffer is either necessary or sufficient for diminishing the incentives to “Lynch law”).

Justice is an impartial idea, and it is not clear that victims have any greater right to see justice being done than does anyone else; so the suspicion is strong that we are really talking here about the desire for vicarious revenge.

Non-Retributivist Theories

Despite the current popularity of retributivist theories (among philosophers at any rate), it seems likely that the majority of post-enlightenment penal theorists have held that the connection between punishment and its aims is causal and contingent rather than conceptual. Widely different such aims have been ascribed to punishment, but it seems likely that the dominant two are now deterrence and incapacitation.


It is difficult to find explicit theories of punishment before the fourth century BC, though Joshua, 17.12 seems to refer to a deterrent aim for punishment; but it is hard to believe that at least part of the aim of the gruesome punishments mentioned in, e.g., the Code of Hammurabi (C17 BCE) was not deterrence. Plato (though in the mouth of Socrates) explicitly accepts deterrent punishment for “incurable” offenders (Gorgias, 525b; see also Protagoras 323c–324a). Locke also accepted the deterrence theory (Locke 1690,}} 8, 12; this is what Locke means by “restraint”), as did Beccaria (1764, Chap. 12) and Bentham 1789, Chap. XIII, fn. a.).

In its simplest form, deterrence assumes that potential offenders are roughly rational, economic agents who will weigh the likely costs and benefits of their actions before acting. They will take into account the costs and benefits of all of the actions that are available to them and take that course with the most favorable cost-benefit ratio. The aim of punishment is to make the cost-benefit ratio of prohibited actions less eligible by increasing one or both of the likelihood of conviction and the severity of the punishment if convicted.

It seems clear that most people do not adhere strictly to this simple model. And it is clear that there are many other deterrents to crime than the fear of punishment (the fear of retaliation from victims, socialized aversion to crime, fear of the loss of valued relationships, the possible shame attached to criminality, etc.). So the question for the deterrent theorist is whether the costs of the penal system add sufficiently to other disincentives to crime to justify itself. Answering this question, however, is very difficult, precisely because it is difficult to disentangle the motives that drive people to offend, or to avoid offending. That is all the more so because, it is generally thought, the fact of punishment itself, contributes to the sort of informal sanctions just mentioned. For a brief account of the methods used in deterrence research, see (Zimring and Hawkins 1973; Nagin 2000).

Despite these difficulties, most penologists agree that punishment, in tandem with these other factors, and when separated from them, does make some contribution to deterring crime. The classic econometric work was done by Becker (1968). For a more general survey, see also, e.g., Nagin 1998; and Nagin 2000 (“I am persuaded that the collective actions of the criminal justice system exert a substantial deterrent effect”, at p. 346). For a more skeptical view about “deterrence-optimizing analysis,” see Robinson and Darley 2003 – who do, however, accept that punishment actually does have some deterrent value (“There seems little doubt that having a criminal justice system that punishes violators.. .has the general effect of influencing the conduct of potential offenders. This we concede: Having a punishment system does deter”). For a (perhaps) contrary view, see Meares, Katyal and Kahan (2004) who think the evidence for the deterrent effect of punishment is “speculative and inconclusive” (p. 1186), but it is not clear that they think it has no deterrent effect (see, e.g., p. 1196).

Deterrence is traditionally divided into “special” deterrence (punishment’s effect on the person punished) and “general deterrence” (the threat of punishment on the population at large). Strictly speaking, however, this is a confusion. Punishment cannot itself act as a deterrent: Only the threat of punishment can do that. That is a conceptual point. And punishing an offender is not usually, in itself, a threat of punishment; in very peculiar circumstances, one could perhaps punish someone precisely as a threat of further punishment, but that is not how punishment works in penal systems. All that punishment itself can do is to make the person punished a more deterrable character, by making real to him the nature of the punishment. But making someone a more deterrable character is not itself deterring him: It is a way of reforming him. All that can deter him is a further threat. So there is no such thing as “special deterrence:” If the person who is punished is thereby made into a more deterrable character, he is then simply a member of the general population to be deterred by “general deterrence.” With sufficient publicity, actual punishments may have a similar effect on the general public too, by making the threat of punishment more credible, but that is not “general deterrence” either. The effect on potential offenders of the threat of punishment is all that is properly called deterrence.

To the extent that general deterrence works, it works by threats. One might then wonder why it is necessary actually to carry out the threat if the threat fails to deter. The usual answer is that if the threat were not typically carried out, then it would lose its credibility and so become ineffective. So the point of actually punishing offenders, as opposed merely to threatening potential offenders, is to make the threat credible. And this has added to a worry about deterrence that we have already encountered: In actually punishing offenders we are using them as a means to an end, using their suffering to mold the behavior of others. And this does not seem, in normal circumstances, to be morally acceptable behavior.


The idea here is simple: Punishment, either by execution or incarceration, actually prevents offenders from committing more crimes. But this cannot be a justification for punishment in general, because most punishments, fines for instance, have no significant incapacitative effect. Revocation of driving licenses may be thought to be incapacitative, but they do not prevent anyone from driving, only from driving legally.

The use of prisons, until fairly recently, was not widely thought of as a method of keeping offenders out of circulation. They were mainly used to hold suspected offenders until trial, or to coerce them into paying debts. But transportation, begun in Britain in the reign of Elizabeth I as an extension of hard labor, must surely have also been intended to remove offenders from society. And it exceeds credibility that monarchs and others did not use prisons simply to keep troublemakers out of harm’s way (The Tower of London was built specifically to house the king’s enemies, not to punish them).

As a justification for imprisonment generally, the idea has simple charm, but is not without problems (see Zimring and Hawkins 1995). For one thing, crime is often committed by groups, and if not all the group is imprisoned then others may take their place in the group. Again, high-ranking offenders can often carry out their criminal purposes from behind bars. And confining offenders is highly expensive, and increasingly so as they get older: There must be some question as to whether the money required for this could not be used in other ways to reduce crime, and to do so without leaving offenders with a stigma makes a continued life of crime difficult to avoid.

Enhanced prison sentences for recidivist offenders are typical in most jurisdictions. But here the problem has been the accurate prediction of which of these offenders would in fact offend again, and the results have not been encouraging. One suggestion has been to try to identify a few offenders who are particularly “dangerous” and confine them to long, perhaps indeterminate, sentences simply as a matter of protection of the public (see Floud and Young 1981). A somewhat less subtle strategy has been pursued in many US states and by the Federal government: to sentence those who have committed a third felony to very long sentences, usually without the possibility of parole. This, of course, typically provides a perverse incentive to those who are committing their third felony not to mitigate the offense.

And there is a moral worry in all of this: Offenders are being confined not for what they have done, but for what it seems likely that they would do if set free. Even if our predictions were accurate, some might still find this morally troubling.


In its very broadest sense, “reform” may be regarded as any sort of treatment that makes the offender less likely to offend: At the limit, this would, of course, include capital punishment. More usually, the aim has been simply to change the offender’s desires so that he loses the desire to offend. More narrowly still, the aim has been to change the offender’s desires while, in some way, not reducing his autonomy. More extendedly, the aim has been to rehabilitate the offender so that he can resume a useful life in society.

The reform theory has a long history, dating back at least to Plato, and including Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. II, Chap. 1). Jeremy Bentham also thought that reform was one of the main aims of punishment, though less important than deterrence (Bentham Chap. XIII, fn. A). As a matter of policy, reform became the main aim of punishment, imprisonment in particular, during the first half of the nineteenth century, an aim which led to the redesign of prisons so that prisoners were effectively isolated from each other and under constant supervision. Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon became the model for such prisons and many prisons were designed according to its model. But, despite remaining one of the official aims of most penal systems, it has had a mixed history since then, and since the 1970s the lack of any evidence of success has led largely to its demise.

As we have already seen, it is unclear how punishment can reform offenders to any significant degree. Plato thought that wrongdoing was, roughly, a matter of ignorance, and if that were true it would go some way toward answering the question – but, as we have already seen, not very far. In modern times, the reform movement has often been linked with the idea that criminality is some sort of disease, or mental abnormality, but, unless the claim is to be a mere tautology, this can be shown to be true of only a very small proportion of offenders. Starting in the nineteenth century, prisons in particular came to be seen not so much as the reforming vehicle as the place where the reform could be carried out, and thus gave rise to the idea of prisons as places where offenders could be rehabilitated. In the last few decades, such programs as probation or community service have been tried with certain sorts of offenders (Ashworth 2005, Chap. 9). There is some dispute about whether such programs are punishments, or alternatives to punishment, but there is in any case little evidence of their efficacy.

Expressive Theories

Just as internalist reform theories have an externalist counterpart, so to do internalist expressive theories. These theories claim that, as a contingent matter, punishment or penal systems reduce crime by sending some sort of message. Most popularly, it has been held that they do so by expressing denunciation or condemnation of offenses. This may be thought to reduce crime by educating citizens as to what is acceptable behavior. Or it may be thought to siphon off feelings of outrage which otherwise may lead to social disorder. Or it may be thought that the actual experience of punishment expresses condemnation to the offender, thus inducing shame and the greater likelihood that he will not offend again.

All of these claims are empirical and very difficult to confirm. It seems likely that some such effect operates entwined with such other effects as punishment may have, but it is difficult to be more precise than that.

Assurance Theory

The assurance theory holds that the point of punishment is to assure law-abiding citizens that other citizens will obey the law too (Lacey 1988, 182f.). If they did not have this assurance, it is thought, they would be less likely to obey the law themselves – perhaps, e.g., because they would see the legal system as operating unfairly, or because they would think it foolish to obey laws that others did not obey too, or perhaps because, without that assurance, they would be more likely to take the law into their own hands.

There is no doubt some truth in this. However, this theory is parasitic on one or more of the theories mentioned above: Assurance will begiven to law-abiding citizens only if punishment reduces the level of crime, and it can only do that if one of the theories mentioned above (or more than one) is actually correct.

Concluding Remarks

Some of the theories outlined above are easily combined: There is no problem about holding, for instance, the traditional version of the deterrence theory along with the incapacitation theory. Other combinations will produce simple incoherence: One could not coherently hold that the only appropriate response to an offense is punishment and, at the same time, hold that, if punishment does not reduce crime then we should turn to other methods (but see Duff 1986, p. 296ff.). Yet other combinations will not be incoherent but will seem to embody a moral tension, as might be the case if one derived the justification of punishment from a utilitarian desire to reduce crime and the demand that we give offenders what they deserve. Whatever the views of theorists may be, however, it seems likely that most people would agree that punishment is in fact justified, and that the justification will consist of more than one of the theories outlined above. But an account of a suitable combination is beyond the scope of this research paper.


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