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Retributive justice concerns fairly blaming or punishing people for their wrongdoing. Descriptions of retributive justice appear throughout recorded history. Often, the notion of retributive justice is described as “an eye for an eye,” a concept that provides the basis for Western theories of punishment. A justice model built on the principle of retribution mandates punishment for those who commit wrongful acts. Typically, retributivists call for proportional punishment, which means that the pain of the justly deserved sanction should be related to the nature of the bad act and that those who committed similar acts should receive similar punishments. This entry first explains the concept of retribution and its social purpose. Retribution is distinguished from vengeance, and the central conditions necessary for retribution are described. ...

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