Theories of Punishment in Law Writing Law


What is punishment?
Punishment is the penalty on someone as a result of their wrongdoing.


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1. Deterrent Theory.

The object of this theory is not only to prevent the wrongdoer from doing a wrong subsequently but also to make him an example for society and such other person who have criminal tendencies.

Locke is the supporter of this theory and said that, “every commissioner of crime should be made a ‘bad bargain’ for the offenders.


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2. Preventive Theory.

The object of this theory is to prevent or to disable the offenders from repeating the offence by giving them punishment.

Supporter of this theory is Paton.


3. Reformative Theory.

This theory remarks that the object of punishment should be the reform of the criminal.

Mahatma Gandhi is of the opinion that, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”


4. Retributive Theory.

This theory proposes tit for tat, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. The punishment has to be proportional for the crime committed. The believers of this theory says that criminal must suffer the pain.


5. Expiatory Theory.

Theorist of this theory say that the object of the punishment is self realisation. If the offender after committing offence realizes his guilt then he must be forgiven.

What do you think?