Hn200: Survey of Social Problems-Unit 9 Assignment

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Our correctional system uses multiple approaches to punish criminal offenders depending on the severity of the crime, number of past crimes, and the potential of re-offending. It relies mostly on political clout which is used to shape public opinion and in turn determines what is a crime, and the appropriate punishment for a particular crime. It has rarely used science based methods, though it is beginning to see the benefits of such methodologies and will most likely implement more science base strategies in the years to come. Our current correctional system utilizes five general types of sentencing concepts to enact punishment on offenders, “retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration” (Schmalleger, 2014, p. 341). Each of these represents a different philosophy which stems from a different understanding of human nature. Retribution and incapacitation are the only ones that are truly forms of punishment. Deterrence is a philosophy based on the threat or fear of punishment, and restoration is a goal of sentencing to help make victims “whole again” (Schmalleger, 2014, p. 343). I will discuss rehabilitation later in this paper. Retribution is defined as “A just deserts perspective that emphasizes taking revenge on a criminal perpetrator or group of offenders” (Schmalleger, 2014, p. 341). This is the oldest form of punishment and is based solely on an emotional reaction to a transgression of sorts. Retribution is synonymous with revenge and retaliation, all based off the idea of just deserts. The phrase “just deserts”, comes from an archaic meaning of the word desert which means what one deserves. Schmalleger defines it as “A model of criminal sentencing that holds that criminal offenders deserve the punishment they receive at the hands of the law” (2014, p. 341) An aspect of retribution can involve shaming. This may be one of the oldest
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