Criminology | Section 3.2

Fundamentals of Criminology by Adam J. McKee

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Justice Reform Movements

A legal system that is capricious and uncertain does not guarantee sufficient grounds for making such rational decisions.  Such a system is not only unjust, but does not help to control crime.  In order to be effective, the criminal law must provide reasonable penalties that are applied in a reasonable way to encourage citizens to obey the law.

The primary purpose of the criminal law is deterrence.  It should not be used to avenge the wrongs done to the state of the victim.  Punishments need only be severe enough to offset the gain of the crime.  This is not an “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” doctrine.  Punishment cannot be too severe because that is unjust.  Punishment cannot be too lenient because it will not deter.

Modification History

File Created:  08/04/2018

Last Modified:  08/04/2018

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This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

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