Punishment, Part 2 to blupete's Essay
"On The Theory of Punishment"
First we define the crime; then we keep watch; and, where we detect a crime, hopefully, charge a suspect. All necessary processes: but, ones which must be done under our constitutional laws.7 Once the state, through its police, on reasonable grounds, believes a person has committed a crime, then the suspected criminal is brought to account. The prosecution of an alleged criminal, in our justice system, is, an elaborate process. At the end of the process, we then might be in a position to declare the person to be guilty of the crime and thus to be a convicted criminal. What then is next? What is it that we are to do with convicted criminals? Well, traditionally, we punish them; and, we do so, for good reasons, reasons such as deterrence and retribution. We may, quite aside from punishment, try to rehabilitate convicted criminals so that they will become law abiding citizens. Or, as seems to be the case these days; punish and attempt to rehabilitate, all at the same time.
More generally, punishment is one of the pillars of justice; it is to be meted out mercifully in a measure suited to the crime. "The only true way to make the mass of mankind see the beauty of justice is by showing to them in pretty plain terms the consequences of injustice."8 With law comes the notion, according to Locke, of either reward or punishment.9
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