• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

More people per1000,000 population are now imprisoned in England and Wales than any otherEuropean Union country, yet crime rates have fallen since 1995. Can this beexplained by theories of retribution or reductivism?

Extracts from this document...


More people per 1000,000 population are now imprisoned in England and Wales than any other European Union country, yet crime rates have fallen since 1995. Can this be explained by theories of retribution or reductivism? This assignment will look at how both retribution and reductivism has led to rise in prison population and reduction in crime rate. I will be discussing both theories in detail and how they may have inflicted this conclusion. I will look at how past effect of these theories and how they are in tact now in the present. As we are aware more people in England and Wales are imprisoned (the rate is 129 per 100,000 population in 2001 Appendix 1) than any other country in Europe. There are now many more offences, which are now criminalized; this includes recent legislation of underage sex. Crime is rising, over the period of 1997-2001 recorded crime in the EU rose by 4 per cent (Home Office, 2003). In 2001 England and Wales had the highest per capita rate in the EU followed by Portugal (Home Office, 2003). This is due to longer sentences inflicted upon criminals. Crime sentences act 1997 gave minimum sentences for criminals, for example automatic life sentence for reconviction of rape and murder. ...read more.


The desire for revenge theory is that the punishment satisfies the victim's desire for revenge, and the state is exacting vengeance on their behalf to prevent private retaliation. Such a sight finds minute support today. Expiration requires the offender to work off his guilt; he must be purified through suffering. With this suffering its seen that the offender has purged his guilt, has paid for his crime, and that his account with society is therefore clear. This focus is on the past crime with the attempt to wipe the slate clean (Sumner, M 2001 in McLaughlin, E & Muncie, 2001). Kant argued that the criminal 'wills' his own punishment - retribution confirms the humanity. Not so much offender 'paying his debt to society. But state paying its debts to law abiding citizens punishment as a means of expression for public denunciation, taking vendetta out of public alert etc necessary in an ordered society but still an expression of revenge. In murder cases especially where we know that debt cannot be repaid. Retributivist sees punishment as society responding. This presumes a particular type of social stability. The Criminal Justice Act 1991 followed a White Paper, which decreed that the aim was 'better justice through a more consistent approach to sentencing, so that convicted criminals get their just deserts.' ...read more.


It is argued that every time a crime is committed the theory of deterrence is somewhat weakened. It is suggested that when a former criminal is not reconvicted within two years, one cannot tell whether the explanation for that is the rehabilitative effect of custody or its deterrence effect upon him, or a decision taken independently by the offender, or just simple success in avoiding detection (Cavadino, M 2002). With the theory of deterrence it is possible for punishment to have a more profound subconscious effect on society. It is seen as educative deterrence as criminals build up habit of not breaking the law in society. This can be seen within theft, as we seen the public morality that stealing is immoral and it is strengthened and the custom of not stealing is toughened. Both retribution and reductivism gives us the idea to why there are so many in prisons; they are getting their just deserts (retribution) and they are finding a way forward (reductivism). Different people would favour different idea to why there are so many are in prison and why crime rate is falling. The main purpose of punishment has the desirable effect of stimulating law-abiding conduct and discouraging crime. Moreover, this may permit the sentencer to lay up the dangerous and with a bit of luck even reform them. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF POST-MODERN FEMINISM Postmodern feminist theories have gained empirical support. Fagan (1993) notes in America that black women are drawn into the drug industry due to poverty and lone parenthood. This suggests there is some validity in the postmodern feminist ideas.

  2. What have theories of deviance added to our understanding of crime? Why are there ...

    and also relying on various other methodology such as participant observation (even this can be problematic, as seen in Barry's statement to Foster later on). In today's society, many crimes go unreported sue to fear or the belief that the police will not be interested.

  1. Describe law and order in London in the late 19th century

    been left, there would have been an onslaught upon the Jews, property would have been wrecked and lives would probably have been lost". The writing was washed off by order of Warren before it could be photographed. Though the graffiti was found near a piece of Eddowes apron, which the

  2. subcultural theory

    Similarly, Merton has also been criticized by Valier (2001) for his stress on common goals in society. Valier argues that there are in fact, a variety of goals that people strive to attain at any one time. This evidence suggests that the overemphasis upon attaining cultural goals by legitimate means creates a tendency towards anomie.

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the Prison system, and its purpose in relation to its ...

    An early effort to reform the use of prisons to provide labour came about in the mid 16th century, this was done through the introduction of Bridewells. The first Bridewell, or House of Confinement was introduced in 1556, and in reality was an attempt to deal with the increasing levels of vagrancy.

  2. This paper attempts to analyse Bacceria's (1764) "On Crimes and Punishment" article. In order ...

    According to Wilson and Keeling, crime was to be reduced by clamping down on minor incivilities and disorder, thus reducing the fear of crime. Beccaria on the other hand, suggested that crime could be reduced by means of significant reforms to the criminal justice system.

  1. Inequalities within the 'Criminal JUSTICE System/Process'

    This is an improvement however as... Research from the mid 80's by Policy Studies Institute showed that in the Metropolitan police area 63% were Afro-Caribbean, 44% were white and 18% were Asian. Its getting better: 1998/9 Home office crime figures (Guardian Dec 2000): 1mil Stop and searches recorded 9% Black, 5% Asian, 1% non white.

  2. Why do people commit crime?

    Jefferson defined this as ?hegemonic masculinity? in 2001, as heterosexual men in our society are seen as the breadwinner and sexualise women. Cyber crime is a more recent, ever-increasing offence involving a range of illicit, computer-related activities. It was defined by Thomas and Loader in 2000 as ?Computer-mediated activities which

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work