Punishment is the imposition of a penalty or a reprimand by the state’s judicial branch. The objective of punishment is not merely to inflict physical agony on the culprit, but also to make him recognise the seriousness of the crime he has committed and repent. When a person is subjected to some form of pain, he is said to have been punished.
THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT
Deterrent– When the goal of punishment is to demonstrate the futility of crime and to teach the perpetrator, it is said to be deterrent. The goal of punishment, according to this theory, is to demonstrate that crime is never lucrative to the criminal. The goal of this punishment is to give the criminal an exemplary sentence. It’s only to instil dread in the offender’s head so that he or she thinks twice before committing any wrongdoing. It’s a fear-based game designed to keep the offender from committing a crime. However, when it comes to hard-core offenders, this idea of punishment fails to fulfil its aim since they have no fear of punishment.
Preventive- If the goal of deterrence theory is to instil fear and put an end to crime, the goal of preventive theory is to prevent crime by incapacitating the criminal, such as by imposing the death sentence on the criminal. Alternatively, he may be imprisoned.
Preventive punishment mode
i) By instilling fear of punishment in all potential wrongdoers.
ii) By preventing the offender from committing any further crimes.
iii) By transforming the criminal through rehabilitation or a transformation and reformation process so that the crime is not repeated.
Reformative- A crime is frequently committed as a result of a conflict between the criminal’s character and motive, according to this theory. It is possible to consider that one may commit a crime either because the motive’s temptation is stronger or because the character’s restraint is less. Punishment, according to reformative thought, is more curative than deterring. According to this theory, crime is a disease that can’t be healed by murdering rather than treating it with medicine and a reformation process.
Retributive- In essence, vengeance means that the culprit is made to pay for his actions. However, the state believes that inflicting suffering on the wrongdoer is vital to avoid vengeance. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, according to this view, should be returned for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, as is the norm of natural justice. The retributive theory overlooks the reasons of the crime and does not attempt to address them. It’s also possible that the perpetrator was just as much a victim of circumstance as the victim. This approach overlooks the fact that if vengeance is the spirit of punishment, then violence will be a form of imprisonment.
Which theory is better
The reformatory doctrine of punishment is widely followed by the Indian judiciary. Different theories are associated with different epochs. Punishment was more or less retributive in the early phases of society’s evolution, i.e. the ‘an eye for an eye’ system.
However, the strong caste-cases nexus that India has always been recognised for tainted this system. With the passage of time and the formulation of the Indian Constitution and Indian Penal Code, punishment in India became profoundly influenced by the belief that crimes, not offenders, should be eradicated. The concept that individuals may be changed with the correct therapy has come to dominate the criminal justice system, transforming prisons into rehabilitation centres, while capital punishment is reserved for the most heinous of crimes. As a result, the Indian penal system is mostly influenced by reformatory ideology, with a smidgeon of preventive measures, as seen by the existence of life imprisonment.
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