Five Philosophical Reasons For Sentencing Criminals (Essay Sample)

Five philosophical reasons for sentencing criminals

Sentencing criminals is a technique that has been used for varied reasons with the primary objective of ensuring law and order prevails within a society. Judicial systems also serve philosophical reasons by ensuring the criminals and their victims get justice. Thus, in this article, five philosophical reasons for sentencing criminals are discussed in detail highlighting the relationship they establish through sentencing process.


Retribution entails vengeance against the criminal. The victims of crime always want to see that the criminals suffer for their actions. The judicial system therefore curtails some of the individual rights as a punishment while detaching them from the society. for cases of murder, some countries around the world i.e USA also kill the criminal perpetrator tin what is perceived as vengeance for the murdered victim, his/her relatives and friends. Retribution is served with the principle of severity of crime thus a murder criminal is likely to get a death sentence while a traffic offence can get a few months’ community service.


Incapacitation is locking up of criminals to protect the society. criminals are perceived as troublemakers in any society and therefore the community institutes a facility to hold them commonly referred to as a prison or jail. Governments around the world establish and maintain these facilities to ensure they are accorded maximum security and ensure the troublemakers do not pose a threat to the society. the community therefore dispenses the threat of having a person who may harm them. Thus, philosophically, incapacitating the ability of the offenders to commit another crime.


Deterrence is the act of using a criminal to serve as an example to other potential criminals who may want to engage in a similar criminal activity. The sentences passed by the justice system ensure that it deters any individual who is and may likely engage in a similar activity. The overall goal with this philosophical approach is it ensures it prevents a crime while punishing the offender. Potential criminals weigh the potential sentence they are likely to receive from their actions and decide that the crime is not worth committing.


Correctional facilities for criminals have rehabilitation as their primary objective. These facilities seek to reform the behavior of the offender and realign them with the expectations of the society. it is a humane punishment that seeks to rebuild the character and morals of the person to align with the expectations of the society. it includes therapeutic methods that seek to conform the reasoning of the individual with the rule of the law. rehabilitation is advantageous to the society since it prepares the individual for reentry into the society and becoming a productive member of the society.


It is similar to rehabilitation but rather focuses on making the inmates and the victims to live a better quality of life. restoration brings together the society, victim and the criminal to repair the relationship destroyed by the crime. The criminal is therefore prepared for reentry into the society without being perceived as a threat to the community. the system has also reformed the individual to become a reproductive individual. The inmates come back to a society that has forgiven him/her and the victims feel that justice has been served to the criminal and the sentence was a fair deal for their suffrage.

Concisely, the judicial system serves various functions that balances between reducing crime in the society and serving justice to victims and rehabilitating the individuals. The aforementioned philosophical goals of a justice system are interwoven to serve this goal.

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