Chapter

Crime and Impunity

Hyman Gross

in Crime and Punishment

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644711
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738944 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644711.003.0001
Crime and Impunity

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This chapter explores the notions of crime and impunity. Criminal punishment is a terrible source of human misery. Thus, its reduction represents moral progress, and it should be carried on generally at the lowest level at which it can still be effective in playing its part in preventing the evils of impunity. It does seem unthinkable that we should ever find ourselves able to tolerate universal impunity and do away altogether with punishment for crime. There is also the need to maintain the dread that allows the law-abiding to remain that way, and that ensures that a police presence does have an inhibiting effect. The total abolition of punishment is neither a prospect to be feared nor a cause to be devoted to. Punishment striking terror in the hearts of would-be offenders must be recognized as the nonsense it is and abandoned, along with appetites for revenge and expressions of moral superiority advanced in the name of justice.

Keywords: criminal punishment; crime; criminal offenders; justice

Chapter.  2328 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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