Punishment, Effective Principles of

Principles of punishment refer to the organizing philosophies that guide responses to deviant behavior. Traditionally, four dominant penological principles influence sentencing and sanctioning in the criminal justice system: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Each of these principles proposes different ideas regarding why a person commits crime and what consequences it has for society; therefore, each principle recommends different mechanisms for responding to an offense. While occasionally correctional sanctions can retrospectively influence the understanding of these principles, it is more often the case that forensic practitioners and criminal justice agencies begin with a theory and then aim to manifest those ideas into practice and policy.

In estimating the effectiveness of these principles of punishment, it is important to note that the usefulness of any of these theories ...

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