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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?

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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