What Are The Theories Of Punishment?


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There is another way in which the state commonly affects the moral lives of its individual members, and that is the way of punishment.

The three common theories of punishment are known as:

a) The Deterrent theory: according to this theory the purpose of punishing anyone who has done wrong is to deter others from doing the same wrong. In its view of punishment that is held when the judge makes an example of same offender. Moralists often object to this view of punishment because, according to it, the offender is being treated merely as a means to the good of others.

b) The Reformative theory: according to this theory, the aim of punishment is to reform the character of the offender himself. This view is popular at the present day, but is often misunderstood. Many people who say that punishment should have in view the reformation of the offender, mean that the offender should not be punished at all but that he should receive an education which will enable him to live better.

c) The Retributive theory: this theory of punishment in its simplest form holds that the aim of punishment is to make the offender suffer what his victim has suffered, and so this theory appears to justify the law of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'.

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