Retribution aims at castigating offenders
Retribution aims at castigating offenders through punishments that proportional to their crimes, and which are deserved by the criminals. It does not focus on consequences such as deterrence or rehabilitation. Although this method of punishment is the key rationale behind most justice systems, it has various controversial issues. While it has an element of punishment, pure retribution is not structured to bring about any particular effect. Some argue that it is an ‘eye for an eye’ approach that is unjustifiable and primitive (Mays & Winfree, 2009). While the purpose of punishment has evolved over time, most people concur that punishment should not only aim at depriving criminals. Punishment should prevent disorder, protect the public, and reduce social injury. It should also teach a lesson to offenders and to others. Retribution aims at achieving none of these goals and may, therefore, not continue to be as fashionable as it has been.
Increasing rates of incarceration increase the overall cost of corrections. Imprisonment has had a fair share of opposition, with most experts arguing that is it not a suitable method of enhancing rehabilitation and correction. Dammer & Albanese (2014) argue that past a particular point when a sizeable proportion of the population has been or is currently in prison, imprisonment becomes less of a stigma and may lead to an increase in the rate of crime. The tendency to incarcerate victimless and non-violent offenders is among the top reasons why the cost of corrections is continually increasing. Consequently, the increased burden on taxpayers has led to popular views that other measures, such as parole and probation, may be suitable alternatives to detention (Dammer & Albanese, 2014). Both monetary and societal costs of incarceration may reduce the desire to incarcerate a large number of offenders. Instead, alternatives may be sought to punish those whose crimes do not necessarily call for incarceration.
Dammer, H. & Albanese, J. (2014). Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Mays, G. & Winfree, L. (2009). Essentials of Corrections. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.