Retributive Justice

Retributive justice refers to one of the ways in which societies deal with wrongdoing. The concept of retributive justice has deep historical roots, appearing in early accounts of law, theology, and philosophy. Retributive justice reflects a fundamental human need for fairness. Accordingly, it is a feature of most cultures and underpins Westernized legal systems. A defining feature of retributive justice is that offenders are punished and therefore seen to “pay” for what they have done, for example, by spending time in prison, providing material compensation to victims, or doing community work. Retributive justice is therefore concerned with ensuring that offenders are punished in some way for their actions. A founding principle of retributive justice is that offenders get their just deserts (i.e., they get what ...

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