Three ways of understanding the question ‘Why punish?’ are distinguished. Answers commonly invoke three purposes and justifications – that punishment is the way to reduce offending, that it rights the wrong, and that it vindicates the victim. All these accounts are challenged. There is particular attention to the concept of rehabilitation and an explication of what this analysis entails for the work of probation. It is concluded that there is a need to develop a broader philosophy of responding to wrongdoing with attention to the implementation of punishment and to the ‘end state’ where the wrongful act may be considered resolved.
The article, based on the McWilliams Memorial lecture in June 2018, has a short response from Prof Nicola Padfield. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Canton, R. and Padfield, N. (2019) 'Why Punish?' Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 58 (4), pp. 535-553
ISSN : 2059-1098
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes