A. Introduction to the Theories of Punishment
Sentencing is arguably the most important area of the law. Whereas many other areas of law are concerned with “simply” regulating the transfer and adjustment of monetary sums, the penalties available against criminal offenders target the most cherished and coveted individual interests. Not surprisingly, sentencing is the most controversial and politically sensitive aspect of the criminal law.
Many theories have evolved regarding the aims of sentencing. The traditional view is that there are four theories of punishment namely Retribution, Deterrence, Incapacitation and Reformation. Despite all this theories, the ultimate aim for punishment is to punish those who had committed crimes as stated under the Penal Code and to serve justice to the victim. Degree of punishment varies according to the type of offences committed.
It is an older sense as indicating vengeance. Basically, this theory is on the basis of “an eye for eye” and “a tooth for tooth”. Philosophically, this retribution theory suggested that the accused or an offender deserves punishment for the offences he or she committed. Punishment as an institution is inherently justified because of a person’s wrongdoing and only those who found guilty should be punished. The core principle of this theory is that the punishment must be proportionate to the crime that has been committed. A clear example was laid down in Section 302 of Penal Code stating that a person who committed murder shall be punished with death sentences. Undeniably, an excessive punishment would be underserved and unfair and tip the social equilibrium against the offender. However insufficient punishment would not completely destroy the offender’s advantage. Therefore the type of the punishment must fit to the crime that offender committed.
The aim of this theory is that the threat of punishment will deter people from committing crime. It also can be said that it is the...