Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Revenge, Retribution, and Rehabilitation
Kathryn D. Morgan
Society has always made provisions to punish those who have violated its rules. For much of correctional history, correctional philosophy and practice has been like a swinging pendulum. The classical focus on strict application of the law regardless of the individual case gave way to an emphasis on dealing with offenders on a person-by-person basis, and then the pendulum swung back again. However, revenge, retribution, and rehabilitation have long remained the three consistent themes in correctional policies. When a person commits a crime and is punished by the state, there are four main purposes of the punishment: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation. Retribution involves inflicting pain upon offenders through imprisonment or some other method of punishment that makes them “pay their debt to society” for their harmful actions. Incapacitation is the direct result of incarceration. While offenders are imprisoned, society at large is protected from their potentially harmful actions. Deterrence ...