Show Summary Details
Page of

Printed from Oxford Law Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 February 2023

p. 32912. Why punish?locked

p. 32912. Why punish?locked

  • Raymond WacksRaymond WacksEmeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory, University of Hong Kong


The subject of the punishment of offenders always excites controversy. Some will argue that the law is too soft. Others believe that it is excessively harsh. This chapter examines how the exercise of punishment (in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law) might be validated. Futher it examines the various theories that have been advanced by penologists, law reformers, and philosophers to justify or explain its rationale. These theories include the idea of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and denunciation. Each of these theories makes an attempt to defend the use of state coercion in order to achieve certain objectives.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription