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Theories Of Punishment

Decent Essays
Mayte Gamory
Professor Conley
Final Paper
18 December 2017

Punishment is defined as “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense” (“Punishment”). Some prominent theories of punishment include retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and the moral education theory. Although retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation are all crucial components of punishment justification, independently the theories have weaknesses that avert the moral rationalization of punishment. I believe that Jean Hampton’s moral education theory is the best justification for punishment because it yields the most sympathetic and prudent reasons for punishment, while simultaneously showing that punishment cannot be justified by solely
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Lastly, the moral education theory is related to rehabilitation because the punishment is for the criminals own good, but the moral education theory also respects that criminals are free people who make choices. The moral education theory evidently accounts for the deficiencies of the other three aforementioned theories. It also morally maximizes justification for punishment by demonstrating how forbidden actions are intolerable because they are immoral, not just because there are boundaries set around certain actions. Justification of punishment is needed because there needs to be sufficient reasoning behind the treatment that wrongdoers receive. The moral education theory provides the best reasoning for punishment by taking into account that people are rational beings with the ability to make choices, and providing moral education on prohibited actions or behaviors. One might object to these arguments and say that due to the complexity of figuring out exactly what actions are considered immoral, the moral education theory is inadequate. A good example of this would be current laws in certain states prohibiting the use of marijuana. Undoubtedly, marijuana use is not deemed to be immoral by the majority, for there would not be any states in which it is legalized. Many people would
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