The utility of punishment- Bentham notes.pdf
The utility of punishment- Bentham notes.pdf

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Charles Stuart University
Philosophy PHL209
Stephen Clarke- Charles Sturt University

Wk 10 – Deterrence Theory of Punishment Criminal Justice – 3 theories: 1. Deterrence 2. Retributivism 3. Rehabilitation State punishment: what justifies this institution? What’s the rational for punishment? Should law-breakers be punished? What justifies spending so much money on punishment? Goal of punishment: The deterrence theory of punishment - to deter people from committing crimes again. A looking forward theory. Justified because of the future. Therefore akin to Utilitarianism – a form of ‘consequentialism’ Pain inflicted out-weighted by positive effects in future. Problem: • as per utilitarianism, it treats individuals as object for others’ goals. • Disproportional punishment • Cannot always catch the criminal so other criminals not deterred. • Victims are lost – experience was in the past but deterrence focuses on the future. Utility of Punishment: Bentham 1. The principle of utility (POU) § This theory of punishment is based on Bentham’s moral legal, & political philosophy – based on the principle of utility. § Pain-pleasure § Utility = property in an object whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, happiness, or prevents evil, mischief, pain, unhappiness. § Therefore, principle of utility = approves or disapproves of every action based on whether it diminishes happiness of the party in question… § The greatest happiness principle. § Party affected by consequences of an act can be individual or a group (e.g. community). § An act can be that of an individual, government, etc, § THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY IS THE SUPREME LAW OF MORALITY AND AT THE SAME TIME THE FUNDEMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF LEGAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. § A basic principle of ethics. 2. Aims of the Punishment § Should only consider the effects of punishment, good or bad. POU promises to exclude some greater evil. § Punishment is a source of security to all – to potential criminals in deterrence, and to victims in safety. § Desirable consequences of punishment outweigh the evil therefore justified: 1) Prevention – of future offenses is the principle end of punishment and its main justification. Safe-guarding the future. i. Particular prevention - prevent future offending via eliminating desire to offend – deterring through fear. • Disablement – to deprive offender of physical ability to offend (prisons, execution etc). • Reformation – to change offenders’ inclinations, motives, habits, character to not repeat offences. • Deterrence – punishment offers frightening example of evil inflicted on offenders thereby inducing potential offenders to desist. A prevention. ii. General Prevention – display fr
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