Punishment And Its Effects On Society

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There are four main purposes of prisons and those are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. These have been integrated through two well-known justifications for punishment which are retribution and reductivism. Retributivism justifies punishment by claiming that it is what offenders deserve whilst reductivism justifies punishment saying that it reduces the incident of crime in the future.

Reductivism is known as a consequentialist theory which is supported in the form of moral reason known as utilitarianism. The utilitarian philosophy understands that a society completely free of crime does not exist but it tries to utilise punishment as much as possible to prevent to future crimes which in turn will maximize the safety and happiness of society. This theory is aware that punishment can have consequences for offenders as well as society which lead to the belief that punishment has no limit so long as the benefits of the society outweigh crime. An example of consequentialism in punishment is releasing a prison inmate if they are suffering from a life threatening illness because society no longer benefits from their imprisonment as they are no longer regarded as a threat.
In the Conservative Party conference in 1993, the Home Secretary Michael Howard proclaimed ‘Prison works…it makes many who are tempted to commit a crime think twice.’ Deterrence is the idea that through disciplinary sentences for major and minor offences the commitment of crime is
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