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Five Goals of Punishment Essay

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The five traditional goals of punishment are the following retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, restoration and incapacitation. Each of these punishments reflects features of criminal punishment.

In the retribution goal the punishment is imposed by a sentencing judge. It is intentionally given as way to get back at the offender and offer some closure to the victim. The offender is given notice and an attorney is made available. The punishment to the offense is thought to be equal to the offense. Punishment is imposed to the offender in the form of a fine, imprisonment or probation.

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As a result the offender can spend a good part of their life in prison. Penalties are not sought for their own sake, because this is not the era of retribution; rather they are meant to be corrective by being conducive either to the reform of the sinner or to the good of society, which becomes more peaceful through the punishment of sinners (Mahoney, 2007).

Deterrence is used as a tool to prevent others from committing similar crimes. The sentencing judge overemphasized protection of the public, denunciation and deterrence (Thomas, 2007). In this case the judge will imposed sentence and make it clear for others to see that if they do the crime, they will also have to do the time. The principal sentencing purpose in vigilante justice cases like this must be general deterrence. While the prisoner may have learned his lesson, other people out there need to learn the lesson that the justice system is the proper forum for people taking responsibility for what they have done” (Herald, 2007). Punishment will for the most part be equitable to others who committed. It is not imposed on the person who committed the crime it is aim to others who are thinking on committing a similar crime.

The Rehabilitations goal is to reform the criminal offender the punishment is imposed by a judge who believes this person can be rehabilitated. The idea behind rehabilitation programs that impact on criminals live in positive ways. (For example) they have residential programs that help to shelter runaways and spend time turning their lives around. In terms of issues, whatever crime they committed, the intake screener has to evaluate it properly (Hoping to, 2008). Punishment is imposed on the offender as an opportunity to turn their life around. In this case the punishment can provide a pleasant result if successful.

The Restoration goal is to make the offender and the victim whole again. The punishment is imposed by a sentencing judge. The punishment is imposed according to the offense in most cases it consists of fines, restitution and community service. This program involves a two-pronged approach: law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” violent criminals, and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to “seed” human services and restoration programs (Kay, 2008). The punishment is imposed to the offender in some cases they are order to pay installments to the victim. In this case the punishment can result unpleasant depending on the attitude of the offender.

The incapacitation goal is to prevent the offender from committing future offenses. By incarcerating the offender they reduce the likelihood of a reoccurring offense. Punishment is imposed on the offender who committed the criminal offense. Jail or prison definitely provides an unpleasant consequence.


Herald, S. (2007). Prison sentence for Fairlie man :[2 Edition]. Timaru Herald,p. 5. Retrieved from ProQuest Newsstand database.

HOPING TO TURN LIVES AROUND Series: TIMES STAFF WRITER :[SOUTH PINELLAS Edition]. (2008). St. Petersburg Times,p. 3B. Retrieved from Business Dateline databaseKay, L. (2008). JPD harvesting fruits of labor. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Retrieved from Business Dateline database.

Mahoney, J (2007). Putting the death penalty to rest ; How religion shapes our opposition to capital punishment. The Record,,p. O01. Retrieved from Business Dateline databaseThomas, M (2007). Reduced sentence for man behind string of robberies :[Final Edition]. Coquitlam Now,p. 10. Retrieved from Canadian Newsstand Core database.

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