Philosophy and goals of punishment and reformation

Criminal punishment requires clear and convincing justification for two essential reasons. First, such punishment is, almost by definition, unpleasant and harmful to the offender, at least in the short term:

Philosophy and goals of punishment and reformation

As far back in ancient Greek literature as Homer, the concept of dikaion, used to describe a just person, was important. From this emerged the general concept of dikaiosune, or justice, as a virtue that might be applied to a political society.

The issue of what does and does not qualify as just could logically lead to controversy regarding the origin of justice, as well as that concerning its essence. In his trial, Socrates was at pains to dissociate himself from them, after his conviction refusing to save himself, as a typical Sophist would, by employing an act of civil disobedience to escape Dialogues, pp.

The brief answer is, their relativism and their skepticism. Gorgias Plato named dialogues after both of them is remembered for a striking three-part statement of skepticism, holding that nothing really exists, that, even if something did exist, we could not grasp it, and that, even if we could grasp something real, we could never express it to anyone else.

We can easily anticipate how readily Sophists would apply such relativism and skepticism to justice. But the most significant Sophist statement regarding justice arguably comes from Antiphon, who employs the characteristic distinction between custom nomos and nature physis with devastating effect.

He claims that the laws of justice, matters of convention, should be obeyed when other people are observing us and may hold us accountable; but, otherwise, we should follow the demands of nature.

The laws of justice, extrinsically derived, presumably involve serving the good of others, the demands of nature, which are internal, serving self-interest.

He even suggests that obeying the laws of justice often renders us helpless victims of those who do not First, pp. If there is any such objective value as natural justice, then it is reasonable for us to attempt a rational understanding of it.

On the other hand, if justice is merely a construction of customary agreement, then such a quest is doomed to frustration and failure.

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With this as a backdrop, we should be able to see what motivated Plato and Aristotle to seek a strong alternative. Socrates easily demolishes this simplistic view with the effective logical technique of a counter-example: Secondly, Polemarchus, the son of Cephalus, jumps into the discussion, espousing the familiar, traditional view that justice is all about giving people what is their due.

But the problem with this bromide is that of determining who deserves what. Polemarchus may reflect the cultural influence of the Sophists, in specifying that it depends on whether people are our friends, deserving good from us, or foes, deserving harm. It takes more effort for Socrates to destroy this conventional theory, but he proceeds in stages: If the first inadequate theory of justice was too simplistic, this second one was downright dangerous.

The third, and final, inadequate account presented here is that of the Sophist Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus cannot mean physically stronger, for then inferior humans would be superior to finer folks like them. He clarifies his idea that he is referring to politically powerful people in leadership positions.

Philosophy and goals of punishment and reformation

But, next, even the strongest leaders are sometimes mistaken about what is to their own advantage, raising the question of whether people ought to do what leaders suppose is to their own advantage or only what actually is so.

Had Thrasymachus phrased this in terms of what serves the interest of society itself, the same appearance versus reality distinction would apply.

But, beyond this, Socrates rejects the exploitation model of leadership, which sees political superiors as properly exploiting inferiors Thrasymachus uses the example of a shepherd fattening up and protecting his flock of sheep for his own selfish gainsubstituting a service model in its place his example is of the good medical doctor, who practices his craft primarily for the welfare of patients.

Socrates suggests three criteria for judgment: Thus, by the end of the first book, it looks as if Socrates has trounced all three of these inadequate views of justice, although he himself claims to be dissatisfied because we have only shown what justice is not, with no persuasive account of its actual nature ibid.

Likewise, in Gorgias, Plato has Callicles espouse the view that, whatever conventions might seem to dictate, natural justice dictates that superior people should rule over and derive greater benefits than inferior people, that society artificially levels people because of a bias in favor of equality.

Socrates is then made to criticize this theory by analyzing what sort of superiority would be relevant and then arguing that Callicles is erroneously advocating injustice, a false value, rather than the genuine one of true justice Gorgias, pp. Glaucon reminds us that there are three different sorts of goods—intrinsic ones, such as joy, merely instrumental ones, such as money-making, and ones that are both instrumentally and intrinsically valuable, such as health—in order to ask which type of good is justice.

Socrates responds that justice belongs in the third category, rendering it the richest sort of good. In that case, Glaucon protests, Socrates has failed to prove his point. If his debate with Thrasymachus accomplished anything at all, it nevertheless did not establish any intrinsic value in justice.The present volume is the second work published under the imprint of the Yale University Press in memory of Arthur P.

McKinstry, who died in New York City, July 21, Born in Winnebago City, Minnesota, on December 22, , he was graduated from Yale College in , and in received the degree of LL.B. magna cum laude from the Yale Law School, graduating at the head of his class.

History and Philosophy of Law; Add Remove. What are the goals of punishment and corrections? Explain the rationale behind those goals. How does the concept of community corrections relate to these goals and rationale? the three theories use several goals for punishment the other hand.

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There is much more to be said on this subject, and there are many works on Philosophical and Theological ethics which discuss theories of punishment, etc.

in detail.

Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits