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Punishment

The Concept Of Punishment, Moral Justifications And Legal Punishment, Justifications For Punishment And The Criminal Law

Although punishment has been a crucial feature of every developed legal system, widespread disagreement exists over the moral principles that can justify its imposition. One fundamental question is why (and whether) the social institution of punishment is warranted. A second question concerns the necessary conditions for criminal liability and punishment in particular cases. A third relates to the form and severity of punishment that is appropriate for particular offenses and offenders. Debates about punishment are important in their own right, but they also raise more general problems about the proper standards for evaluating social practices.

The main part of this theoretical overview of the subject of legal punishment concentrates on these issues of justification. That discussion is preceded by an analysis of the concept of punishment and is followed by a brief account of how theories for justifying punishment can relate to decisions about the substantive criminal law and criminal procedures.

KENT GREENAWALT

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law