The punishments are initially designed to fulfil the purpose of achieving five objectives. The objectives include creating a sense of deterrence to control the population’s behavior and keep order, incapacitating criminals to prevent them from committing more crimes, and rehabilitation in changing criminals’ deviant behavior. Furthermore, the other two objectives are retributing the criminal’s desire to commit crimes from the sense of personal revenge and financial restitution of any damage caused by the criminal. I believe that the most important purpose of punishment is creating deterrence in highlighting that negative and criminal actions are prohibited by the law and violation of the law always results in punishment. According to research conducted by Bun et al. (2020), criminals are more responsive to arrests and convictions but show low responsiveness to imprisonment severity. Therefore, deterrence acts as a foundation for society’s role in the punishment process, as society often rejects criminals and creates more obstacles, such as difficulties in finding a new job.
On the other hand, I find that the most effective purpose of punishment is incapacitation, as it guarantees the populations’ safety while also eliminating the opportunity for criminals to commit more crimes. Additionally, incapacitation provides time and place that could be used to fulfil other essential purposes of rehabilitation and retribution. However, there are many arguments against incapacitation as the state’s legitimate role in limiting people’s freedom is unfounded (Pereboom, 2020). Moreover, both incapacitation and deterrence tend to negatively influence society’s attitude towards criminals in making the reintegration process more complex. Some criminals deliberately return to prison after facing unsuccessful reintegration into society. Therefore, even though deterrence and incapacitation are important and effective for punishment purposes, there should be other more humane alternatives to punishment that serve the same purposes.
Bun, M. J. G., Kelaher, R., Sarafidis, V., & Weatherburn, D. (2020). Crime, deterrence and punishment revisited. Empirical Economics, 59, 2303–2333. Web.
Pereboom, D. (2020). Incapacitation, reintegration, and limited general deterrence. Neuroethics, 13, 87–97. Web.