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date: 03 October 2023

p. 33212. Why punish?locked

p. 33212. Why punish?locked

  • Raymond WacksRaymond WacksEmeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory


The question of how or why or whether convicted offenders should be punished is controversial in most societies.Whether a judge or magistrate fails to penalize a convicted criminal sufficiently harshly or whether a sentence is too severe is a matter of continual public interest and debate. This chapter briefly considers how the exercise of punishment—in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law—might be validated and discusses the various justifications for the exercise of the state’s power to deprive individuals especially of their liberty, life, or, property. These include the concepts of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and communication.

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