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Criminology (1st edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 28 June 2022

p. 66024. Punishment and the idea of ‘just deserts’locked

p. 66024. Punishment and the idea of ‘just deserts’locked

  • Steve Case, Steve CaseProfessor of Criminology, University of Loughborough
  • Phil Johnson, Phil JohnsonCriminology Lecturer and Academic Subject Leader, University Centre at Blackburn College
  • David Manlow, David ManlowPrincipal Lecturer in Criminology
  • Roger SmithRoger SmithProfessor of Social Work, Durham University
  •  and Kate WilliamsKate WilliamsSenior Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University


This chapter examines punishment as a means of dealing with crime and its implications for justice. It first introduces the key arguments advanced in support of the idea of punishment in general and specific punitive practices in particular. It then considers the historical development of punishment and its changing role in society, along with specific forms of penal sanction such as death penalty, imprisonment, and community based alternatives to the deprivation of liberty. The chapter goes on to discuss the role of the judiciary in administering punishments as well as the consequences of imposing punitive measures. Finally, it evaluates the potential limitations of the use of punishment, including miscarriages of justice and its apparent failure to affect the likelihood of reoffending.

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