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Critically evaluate the idea that punishment can be justified for utilitarian purposes (Research Paper Sample)


Critically evaluate the idea that punishment can be justified for utilitarian purposes;
-How punishment strengthens social bonds and public safety
-How punishment can improve social services outcomes
-How punishment contributes to democracy and the rule of law
-How punishment strengthens social bonds and public safety


Punishment for Utilitarian Purposes
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Punishment for Utilitarian Purposes
Qualified punishment has long been a tenet of the justice system, but it is also often understood as a tool for good. In some sense, punishment is arguably the most controversial tenet of Criminology and has been under discussion for centuries. Previously, empirical studies into the effects of punishment have mainly focused on correlational approaches, which offer an incomplete account of the psychological mechanisms that make punishment an effective deterrent. The current study examines whether it is possible to see a causal link between retribution and deterrence, despite the debate surrounding their relationship. In doing so, this research will assist in evaluating retribution as a concept in Criminal Justice; in the form of the effect that discipline has on dispositions toward crime. Specifically, this research will determine whether victims' perceptions of their crime's severity and offenders' perceptions of their punishment influence offenders' subsequent reactions to positive and negative consequences.
Background of the study
The four main types of punishment are loss of liberty, restitution, incapacitation, and deterrence. Loss of autonomy is typically the first type considered when considering a sentence. This can take form through imprisonment or incarceration. Restitution is the second main type of punishment and is a replacement for the lost property. Incapacitation is the third type, where the offender loses their liberty through some form of imprisonment or change in status within society. Finally and most importantly, deterrence is the fourth main type of punishment and includes all types of prevention aimed at decreasing or eliminating future offending behavior.
Dachak (2021) explains that an emphasis on retribution is usually part of legal systems that believe in "might makes right" and the natural order of things. Dachak (2021) further explains how it is often used as a deterrent instead of punishment to deal with certain problems, such as crime and juvenile delinquency. It has been suggested that the really important thing about discipline is not so much the form or severity of it but its general deterrent effect.
Newman (2020) argues that it is possible to see the criminalization of behavior as retribution but adds that criminalization also plays an important preventative role in societies. Apparently, how criminal sentences are used can be seen as corrective. In other words, if punishment is used for goals besides deterrence, its use can still be considered retributive. Tonry (2018) stresses that deterrence is distinct from retribution because it aims to prevent future wrongdoing, whereas retribution aims to punish past wrongdoing. On a similar note, Twardawski & Hilbig (2020) suggest that even from a tender age, children are told to stop doing wrong and to behave well. As children grow, their moral experiences develop, and they begin to participate in the culture of rectification consisting of punishments, which are seen as necessary for achieving the ideal human condition or avoiding the "culture of violation" with its inherent chaos and suffering.
As is evident then, a distinction must be made between retributive punishment and deterrence. Anant (2021) intricately distinguishes that retributive punishment seeks to re-establish justice through the imposition of pain or suffering on the wrongdoer. To expound further, this punishment model addresses the moral imbalance between offender and victim. In contrast, deterrent punishment aims to inhibit future crime by preventing future harm and is not concerned with the moral balance between offender and victim (Anant, 2021). Therefore, the four goals of punishment afore-described go much deeper than their simple explanation. Considering how sensitive punishment is, it must be justified for practical purposes as there is no such thing as a punishment that its perpetrator does not deserve. This has been evident in the cases of children whose crimes were based on outmoded notions of 'fair play, which guided their behavior. The same can be said of offenders who commit crimes considered trivial or simply small offenses.
The overall aim of the current research is to determine whether the threats posed by retribution and deterrence are related by looking at how punishment can create deterrence and further public safety while also strengthening social bonds. Also, how punishment is a liberal approach to justice, valuing autonomy and choice. Spontaneously, the study will look at the history of how punishment has evolved as a concept.
How punishment creates deterrence
Punishment is a moral responsibility for the crime and social disorder. Its proper implementation and administration develop into a tool of deterrence; hence punishment must be consistent with the same transgression. The fear of sanctions will be more effective when related offenses cannot escape the law's reach. As a deterrent, punishment should be consistent with the requirements of retribution, which refer to the severity of the offense and rehabilitation needs (Mitra-Niță, 2021). Furthermore, punishment must be done in a fair and impartial way, which in turn contributes to the idea of deterrence through the creation of equality. Basically, deterrence is a means of controlling and regulating society, including criminal behavior, on both an individual and social level.
Conversely, several studies show punishment alone does not deter crime. Indeed, Fousiani & Demoulin (2019) argue that if individuals do not believe the punishment is commensurate with their offense, the penalty will not act as a deterrent. They also stress that the probability of re-offending is usually higher in cases where there is no retribution, as in cases where only deterrence is present. Nevertheless, Mitra-Niță (2021) contends that several factors can act as a deterrent to future criminal behavior: Firstly, deterrence is an elusive concept, as many scholars have not fully understood it. The current research will attempt to better understand deterrence by looking at how it relates to the four goals of punishment and their overall goal of maximizing society's general welfare. Secondly, the deterrence concept is not just about avoiding sanctions but also about the moral cost of offending, as observed in cases where the offender can take steps to reduce their punishment. Therefore, certain circumstances are where punishment as a deterrent is ineffective in preventing future crimes. Also, it can be said that punishment should be consistent with the retributive purpose, suggesting that it should receive some retribution (Fousiani & Demoulin, 2019).
Therefore, based on the literature above, it can be inferred that there are cases where retribution is not present, and this does not deter future offending. Ultimately, Mitra-Niță (2021) reiterates that punishment should be carried out in a fair and impartial way, as this will serve as a deterrent and reduce inequality in society.
How punishment strengthens social bonds and public safety
This argument is important to understand as it is a common understanding that punishment deters behavior by instilling fear within the offender by reducing future offenses. However, Mitra-Niță (2021) stresses that although this deterrence may seem successful initially, it does not necessarily help ensure public safety. Indeed, the severity of punishment generally tends to change with time and place, which does not address factors such as changes in values and culture. Twardawski, Tang & Hilbig (2020) argue that although the goal of punishment is to deter future criminal behavior, it can also be said that sentence reinforces social bonds. Furthermore, there are some cases where society may find it necessary or justifiable to punish individuals, as opposed to taking action such as imprisonment, for offenses committed in their community.
Although punishment is a liberal approach to justice, it can also be said that it is a method that provides determinacy, certainty, and predictability. This approach can serve as a social response to crime as it fosters trust in society's overall reaction. The current research further explores this idea to assess whether these social bonds are indeed strengthened by punishment. Collins (2018) asserts that punishment has a system-wide effect on society and society's overall welfare. For example, punishment is a means of ensuring the existence of an orderly and civilized community. The current study should focus on whether punishment contributes to the strength of social bonds in society, which in turn offers protection against further crimes.
How punishment contributes to democracy and the rule of law
Punishment can contribute to democracy and the rule of law through its role in government. Arguably this is one goal that all governments should serve by ensuring proper administration of justice within each society. Punishment is a form of democratic action because it results from democratic principles (Mitra-Niță, 2021). By encouraging public participation within the democratic process, punishment serves democracy when it ensures fairness and impartiality. Also, it promotes the rule of law if it is carried out in a way that guarantees certainty and predictability.
How punishment reduces economic inequality in society
It is commonly known that individuals engaged in crime are often economically motivated. Therefore, based on previously cited literature, it would not be dogmatic to assume tha

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