The Various Theories of Punishment in Criminal Law

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Criminal justice Pages: 6 (2222 words) Published: March 14, 2013
Assignment 1: Criminal law

1) Elaborate the various theories of punishment in Criminal Law (10m)

There are four theories of punishments, namely, retribution theory, deterrent theory, and reformation theory. Firstly, a kid who falls down and kicks the floor inadvertently. Generally, it is believed to be a firm of taking revenge and would not serve only penal purpose. Deterrent theory by punishing the offenders deters the wrongdoer specially and deters the general public also by punishing him and refrain them from committing an act. If a society has laws, it must also have punishments for those who break the laws. In the UK, when someone is found guilty of a crime, a judge or magistrate makes a judgment on what their punishment should be. The main aim of punishment is to try to make sense that everyone obeys the law. However, there are different theories about what is the most effective form of punishment and what it should do.

First and foremost, the theory of punishment is retribution theory. Retribution is probably the oldest and most ancient justification for punishment, according to which a wrong is made right by an offender’s receiving his just deserts. Retribution is the theory that criminals should pay for their crime. Most of the people think this should be the main reason for punishment because it makes criminals suffer for what they have done wrong. Criminals make their victims suffer, whenever the criminals should also suffer of the code of Hammurabi (An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth), it has been urged by leaders and accepted by the general public that the criminal deserves to suffer. Among the ancient Jews even animals which killed human being were regarded as contaminated and were got rid for the good from the community. Many authorities have attempted to base the forms of human punishment on instinctive reactions, which might variously be called wrath, anger, resentment or revenge. Retribution theory intends that a man deserves punishment because he has acted wrongfully. What retribution has insisted upon is that no man can be punished unless he has broken the laws. To be more precise, retribution considers that the offender performed an action of a certain culpability that the penalty will give satisfaction equivalent to the grievance caused by his action. In addition, that similar ones have been and will be imposed on similar offenders that he was responsible for his action and performed it with knowledge of possible consequences according to a penalty system and that unlike non-offenders, has gained satisfaction on the commission of an offence. As it stands it is worth consideration as a sufficient argument for punishing a man. In case of Loo Choon Fatt [1976] stated that retribution as an object in sentencing now plays little part in public interest in sentencing, same goes to the case of Rajandran [1985], certain crimes must be making clear by society through courts that through severity of the punishment, the crime shall not repeat itself again.

Secondly, the deterrence punishment is that the act of punishment will deter people from committing further crime. Deterrence punishment divided into two kinds which are General deterrence and Individual deterrence. General deterrence is the knowledge that punishment will follow crime deters people from committing crimes, thus reducing future violations of rights as well as the unhappiness and insecurity they would commit because of the likely punishment ensued. In case of general deterrence, the offender who entitled to the punishment will served as an example as a threats to others which may help to deter others the seriousness of committing the offences with a properly developed Penal Code, the advantages to be gained from criminal activity would be outweighed by the harms of punishment, even when those harms were discounted by the probability of avoiding detention. Accordingly, the greater the...
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