Jeremy Bentham Criminal Justice Essay

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Jeremy Bentham’s Influence on the Criminal Justice System:
Past and Present The delivery of punishment has changed significantly over the centuries. Up until the 19th century in England, imprisonment was not regarded as a punishment, it was merely used while the offender waited to be sentenced to their ‘real’ punishment (Bull, 2010; Hirst, 1998). Corporal punishment such as flogging, branding and mutilation, death by hanging, and transportation to other continents such as America and Australia were common punitive measures through the ages, until well into the 1800’s (Newburn, 2003). Although these extreme penalties are no longer acceptable or practised by criminal courts in England or Australia, in some ways, the past has
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In other words, a person may be tempted to commit a crime if there not a strong enough deterrent in place. Hence, Bentham’s solution to crime control was to address this pleasure/pain response by imposing strict penalties proportional to the seriousness of the crime committed to discourage people from offending (Von Hirsch, 1992). Although he did not support the death penalty, punishment for committing crime was considered by Bentham as the lesser of two evils, necessary for the health of society and the duty of the government to impose (Bull, 2010; Hudson, 2003). Punishment, for Bentham, was a way to ensure “the greatest happiness for the greatest number” (Rosen, 2003, p 221). Bentham argued that prevention, both general and specific, is paramount in controlling crime. The imprisonment of the offender serves the purpose of specific prevention. Specific prevention involves three tiers: incapacitation, reform/rehabilitation and deterrence (Hopkins Burke, 2011). Firstly, incapacitation is achieved by physically removing an offender from society, rendering them unable to reoffend (specifically, by placing them in prison). Secondly, rehabilitation seeks to take away the desire to offend, by teaching the offender that any
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