Essay by ladyheart143College, UndergraduateA+, December 2007

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Punishment:When a crime is committed many may wonder why it happened, but most everyone believes that the person that committed the crime should be punished. The concept of justification for punishment is to deter deviant behavior. Retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and societal protection are the four justifications for punishment currently used in today's society. These four forms of punishment are used in today's society in an attempt deter criminal activity and to lower crime rates. Research of the four justifications of punishment will reveal which type of punishment deters crime most effectively as well as if the consequences of punishment provide any benefit for criminals and society.

The first and oldest of the four justifications for punishment is retribution. Retribution is defined as… "An act of moral vengeance by which society makes the offender suffer [sic] as much as the suffering caused by the crime" (Macionis, J., 2006, p. 182). This type of justification for punishment has been in effect since the Middle Ages when crime was viewed as sin against God and society.

Retribution was designed to satisfy humankind's need for some sort of closure after a crime has been committed and to maintain a moral balance. In theory, the punishment for a crime should be equal in severity to the severity of the crime committed.

Punishment in equal measure to a crime is believed to restore moral balance and deter criminal activity. Capital punishment imposes justification for punishment with retribution in the form of a life for a life. Capital punishment is a very controversial issue because of its effects on society. Many believe that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to murderer; however, according to Nygard K. (1996) "… states with active capital punishment have a stable, higher rate of homicide than those without capital punishment. Nygard...