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Every justification is controversial and debatable. Personally, I am not a proponent of the death penalty; however, I think the evidence may show that it is an effective deterrent to crime. I do not feel that it is morally right to take the life of another human being, even if they have taken the life of another.I am also concerned about the fact that an innocent person may be put mistakenly put to death.Along the lines of thinking that a person can be punished effectively through lesser punishment came the act of rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation is “a program for reforming the offender to prevent later offenses” (Macionis, 2006).
Society came to believe that criminal deviance was learned and could be a result of one’s upbringing, financial status, or even the lack of positive role models.
What type of punishment deters crime most effectively? Retribution is “an act of moral vengeance by which society makes the offender suffer as much as the suffering caused by the crime” (Macionis, 2006).
With retribution, we assume that society is morally balanced. Retribution is thought to restore the balance by granting a punishment that fits the crime; for example, “and eye for an eye”.
“The interaction between crime and punishment is certainly a complex one.
In simple terms, one might anticipate that, if crime rates increase, there should be a corresponding increase on prison populationâ€¦On the other hand, if punishment levels increase, crime control theory suggests that deterrence and incapacitation should show themselves in a corresponding reduction in crime rates” (Blumstein, 1998).The final justification for punishment is societal protection.Societal protection means “rendering an offender incapable of further offenses temporarily through imprisonment or permanently by execution” (Macionis, 2006).The thought was that if one had learned these bad traits earlier in life, they could also be taught good traits if given the opportunity.In other words, they could be reformed or rehabilitated.Another thought is that if the punishment is severe enough, it would discourage anyone from committing the crime. Deterrence is “the attempt to discourage criminality through the use of punishment” (Macionis, 2006).Deterrence came about during the eighteenth century and was a renewed form of punishment from retribution.Like deterrence, the primary focus of societal protection is protecting society.The intent is to render a punishment that leaves the deviant incapable of committing the crime again.America imprisons more of its population than any other country (Macionis, 2006).Everyone agrees that punishment deters crime, but which form of punishment is the most effective?