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Sentencing and PunishmentThe Quest for Justice

Sentencing and Punishment: The Quest for Justice (4th edn)

Susan Easton and Christine Piper
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date: 19 June 2024

p. 1074. Utility and deterrencelocked

p. 1074. Utility and deterrencelocked

  • Susan EastonSusan EastonProfessor of Law, Brunel University
  •  and Christine PiperChristine PiperEmeritus Professor of Law, Brunel University

Abstract

This chapter examines the utilitarian justification for punishment: an approach that focuses on the consequences or outcomes of sentencing and punishment. It discusses the origins of this approach in the work of Beccaria and Bentham, and its modern expression in the work of writers such as Wilson and Kennedy. Focusing on the specific outcome of deterrence, the chapter begins by reviewing its role in current sentencing practice and policy. It later considers whether punishment is effective in reducing offending, and reviews the available research and the problems that arise in establishing a deterrent effect. It also considers some of the difficulties with the utilitarian justification for punishment.

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