Theories of Punishment

Theories of Punishment (kinds of Punishment under Criminal Law)

SYNOPSIS-

1) INTRODUCTION

2) THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT

1) INTRODUCTION – 

A Punishment is a consequence of an offense. Punishments are imposed on the wrong doers with the object to deter them to repeat the same wrong doing and reform them into law- abiding citizens. The kind of punishment to be imposed on the criminal depends or is influenced by the kind of society one lives in. The aim of the different theories of punishments is to transform the law-breakers into law-abiders.

2) THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT –

The different theories of Punishment are as follows –

  • Deterrent Theory
  • Retributive Theory
  • Preventive Theory
  • Reformative Theory
  • Expiatory Theory

 

A) DETERRENT THEORY-

The term “Deter” means to abstain from doing an act. The main purpose of this theory is to deter (prevent) the criminals from doing the crime or repeating the same crime in future. Under this theory, severe punishments are inflicted upon the offender so that he abstains from committing a crime in future and it would also be a lesson to the other members of the society, as to what can be the consequences of committing a crime. This theory has proved effective, even though it has certain defects.

 

B) RETRIBUTIVE THEORY-

This theory of punishment is based on the principle- “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Retribute means to give in turn. The object of this theory is to make the criminal realize the suffering of the pain by subjecting him to the same kind of pain as he had inflicted on the victim. This theory aims at taking a revenge rather than social welfare and transformation.

This theory has not been supported by the Criminologists, Penologists and Sociologists as they feel that this theory is brutal and babric.

 

C) PREVENTIVE THEORY –

This theory too aims to prevent the crime rather than avenging it. As per this theory, the idea is to keep the offender away from the society. This criminal under this theory is punished with death, life imprisonment etc. This theory has been criticized by some jurists.

 

D) REFORMATIVE THEORY –

This theory is the most humane of all the theories which aims to reform the legal offenders by individual treatment. The idea behind this theory is that no one is a born Criminal and criminals are also humans. Under this theory, it is believed that if the criminals are trained and educated, they can be transformed into law abiding citizens. This theory has been proved to be successful and accepted by many jurists.

 

E) EXPIATORY THEORY –

Under this theory, it is believed that if the offender expiates or repents and realizes his mistake, he must be forgiven.

Theories of Punishment – Indian Kanoon

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  • Edmond

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