Modes of Punishment

Rex Martin

in A System of Rights

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198292937
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599811 | DOI:
 Modes of Punishment

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The chapter suggests that there are three main modes of punishment (each with distinguishing features): (1) penalty, invoked against the offender; (2) compensation, to be paid to the victim of crime; and (3) treatment and rehabilitation of the adjudged offender. These are all modes of punishment in virtue of coming under the same general characterization, but each mode has distinguishing features as well. Penalty (e.g. imprisonment, fines) has the prevention of lawbreaking (and thereby the prevention of violations to the rights of others) as its exclusive or primary goal; it achieves this goal through credible examples of penalization or through incapacitation of the offender. Compensation is concerned principally with the good of the victims of crime (with restoration of such persons’ well being, with covering the losses they suffered through the violation of their rights by the offender); it achieves this goal by requiring that money or in‐kind aid be given to the victim (and achieves thereby, an incidental deterrent impact on crime as well). Treatment/rehabilitation is concerned with the good of the adjudged violator (though not exclusively, for the ultimate good of society is also contemplated); it achieves this goal through distinctive measures of treatment (e.g. medical treatment) and rehabilitation (

One of the main thrusts of this chapter is to show that treatment/rehabilitation, in so far as it is required of adjudged violators is a quite specific and independent mode of punishment. The relevant argument here, respecting treatment/rehabilitation, is conducted mainly by considering a hard case: legal insanity, i.e. the after‐verdict handling of persons adjudged ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’.

Keywords: compensation; legal insanity; penalty; prevention; punishment; rehabilitation; treatment

Chapter.  14754 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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