Just deserts theory of punishment. Just Deserts Model: Definition & Theory 2022-10-06

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The just deserts theory of punishment, also known as retributive justice, is a theory that holds that punishment is justified when it is deserved by the offender. This theory is based on the belief that individuals should be held accountable for their actions and that the severity of the punishment should be proportionate to the severity of the crime.

According to the just deserts theory, punishment serves as a way to balance the scales of justice by providing retribution for harm that has been caused. It is not intended to rehabilitate the offender or prevent future crime, but rather to satisfy the desire for revenge and to hold the offender accountable for their actions.

One of the main arguments in favor of the just deserts theory is that it is a fair and impartial way of meting out punishment. It does not discriminate based on factors such as race, gender, or social status, but rather focuses on the actions of the offender and the harm that they have caused. This approach to punishment is seen as more objective and less prone to bias than other theories that may consider extraneous factors in determining punishment.

However, the just deserts theory also has its critics. Some argue that it does not adequately address the root causes of crime and fails to address the societal and systemic factors that contribute to criminal behavior. It is also criticized for focusing solely on punishment rather than rehabilitation or prevention.

Additionally, the just deserts theory has been criticized for its inability to take into account the circumstances of the offender, such as their mental state at the time of the crime or their level of remorse. This can lead to harsh and disproportionate punishment, particularly in cases where the offender may have been suffering from mental illness or may have been acting under duress.

Overall, the just deserts theory of punishment is a controversial approach that has both supporters and detractors. While it is based on the principle of holding individuals accountable for their actions, it has been criticized for its lack of emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention, as well as its failure to consider the circumstances of the offender.

The Definition & Meaning

just deserts theory of punishment

The model helps to ensure that the punishment is effective and that it is not too severe. That is, after all, why we vote them into power. Incapacitation works as long as the offenders remain locked up. Central to retributive justice are the notions of merit and desert. This is because revenge leads to punishments that vary according to the degree of anger provoked. In other words, one should be punished simply because one committed a crime.

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Retributive justice

just deserts theory of punishment

But supposing we could, in fact, find one fair administration of justice, how would they need to be? Examples Since just deserts involves punishment that fits the crime, it follows that a severe offense will receive an equally severe punishment. A breaks B's jaw, which requires emergency surgery and hospitalization. It might even make one wonder why there are not other meal-based forms of chastisement in our language; why no deserved breakfasts, no requisite lunches, no warranted teas? New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations. But as this argument ensues it becomes clear that there is one major question that is not answered. We do not think that war criminals should be allowed to live carefree lives after committing unspeakable crimes against humanity. If the person was later found to be not guilty we would have murdered an innocent person based on this theory. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess.

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Theories of Punishment

just deserts theory of punishment

This can sometimes be a controversial area of the theory, as the circumstances surrounding the commission of crimes vary; therefore, the equality of the punishment can be a tricky area. At least as of this writing in late July, these actions have only increased the number of protestors and violence in Portland, not diminished it. If a person is to receive what they deserve in terms of what they have done, someone has to carry the responsibility. Capital punishment keeps the truly dangerous criminals off the streets and out of the prison system. Hundreds of prisoners have sat on death row for 30 years or more, with countless victims and families never seeing justice served.

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Just Desert: The Fair Punishment Debacle

just deserts theory of punishment

Finally, research evidence suggests that the deterrent effect of punishment is weak. In 1949, in the case Williams v. Experience has shown that punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime. Conversely, under just deserts, a minor offense will receive a less severe punishment. Many believe the phrase refers to a dessert, as in a treat, and, therefore, refers to a just reward for a good deed. In addition, punishments dictated by revenge do not satisfy principles of proportionality or consistency.

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Just Dessert

just deserts theory of punishment

The idea is to remove an offender from society, making it physically impossible or at least very difficult for him or her to commit further crimes against the public while serving a sentence. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. The jurisdiction holds that the punishment of six months is in reasonable proportion to the crime. It can be argued whether there should be an objective purview of justice, where the punishment of offences can be seen as a cause-effect relationship or whether justice should deal with each case as an individual occurrence, taking into account all individual traits of all players, and the circumstances of the case, while keeping a superiority of morality always foremost in mind. This means that people who work hard deserve the fruits of their labor, while those who break the rules deserve to be punished. The warehouses were used to store goods such as food, clothing, and other materials.


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Just Desserts Theory and the Death Penalty

just deserts theory of punishment

One may only be sentenced to death if they have been convicted by a jury of their peers and if they have committed one of the aforementioned crimes. Well, this is the philosophy behind the just deserts model of justice. Yet, this has to be as it has always been balanced between the principles of objective and subjective justice. The perpetrator, convicted felon Joseph Edward Duncan, then proceeded to murder Dylan in the Montana wilderness. In other words, as stated at the outset, the punishment should fit the crime. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1998 , 11.

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Just Deserts Model: Definition & Theory

just deserts theory of punishment

Arguments in Favor of Just Dessert When researching just dessert I found three particular arguments in favor of the just dessert theory. Neither does one convicted of wilful homicide necessarily deserve such sentence. Critics also note that there are limits to the impact of general deterrence. This is considered to be fair and justified punishment because it is deserving of the crime committed. First and foremost in order to protect all members of the public from undue harm, they set about creating a set of norms by which society would be able to control deviant behavior in the interests of everyone instead of a select few. With this theory it is the belief that a person should be punished based on the harm they caused and the crime they committed. However, if one considers the term to mean that criminals should get exactly what they deserve, no more, no less, then one would be hard-pressed to find a convincing argument to stand in opposition.

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The law of ‘just deserts’

just deserts theory of punishment

It has its derivatives from the Latin maxim noxiae poena par esto. They believe this because the majority of prisoners on death row are in fact minorities. The University of Chicago Law Review. Although it is certainly preferable that the punishment serve a secondary function of inhibiting future harmdoing, its justification lies in righting a wrong, not in achieving some future benefit. Also, if we as a nation dispose of all the red tape in the judicial system, the cost for euthanizing inmates will be reduced drastically.

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