Why Punish the Guilty? Towards a Philosophical Analysis of the State's Justification of Punishment
McDonnell, Cyril (2009) Why Punish the Guilty? Towards a Philosophical Analysis of the State's Justification of Punishment. Maynooth Philosophical Papers, Issue 5 (2008) . pp. 21-34.
There is general acceptance that those who break the law must be punished; however, not all agree as to why this is necessary. Some argue punishment is necessary to reform criminals, others to deter criminals, and others because you deserve it, whether punishment reforms or deters. Stripped of metaphors, this paper argues that punishment is retribution, but that a distinction must be made between the definition of punishment as retribution and its justification, if a case is to be made for its moral justification. Thus the most important question the paper raises relates to the justification of punishment as retribution.
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