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Probation  can  be  defined  in  the  law  field  as  the  act  of  suspending  the  sentence  of  a  person  convicted  of  a  criminal  offence  on  condition  that  the  person  promises  to  shun  his/her  bad  ways  and  accept  to  be  supervised  (Cavadino , 1997). Probation  is  normally  granted  those  convicted  of  small  offences (misdemeanors)  . The  person  under  probation  is  ordered  to  follow  a  set  of  conditions  set  by  the  court  failure  to  which  he/she  is  imprisoned.  Punishment  theories  for  violating  probation  conditions  can  be  divided  into  two : Utilitarian  theory  of  punishment  and  Retributive  theory  of  punishment (Cavadino , 1997) . 

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Utilitarian  theory  of  punishment  aims  at  punishing  offenders  in order  to  discourage  them  from  repeating  the  crime  in  future. This  theory  seeks  to  maximize  happiness  in  the  society   by  minimizing  crime  and  punishment . This  theory  appreciates  that  punishment  has  negative  consequences  to  the  offender  as  well  as  the  society  (Cavadino , 1997).  Utilitarian  theory  of  punishment  also  seeks  to  rehabilitate  the  offender  in order  to  discourage  future  crimes  hence  an  advantage.  The  main  disadvantage  of  utilitarian  theory  of  punishment  is  that  in  an  effort  to  deter  crime , it  ends  up  giving  disproportionate  punishments  to  a  few  offenders  and  this  doesn't  deter  crime (Cavadino , 1997) .


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Retributive  theory  of  punishment  on  the  other  hand  seeks  to  punish  offenders  because  they deserve  to be  punished. Retributive  theory  looks  back  at  the  offence  as  the  basis  for  punishment  instead  of   focusing  on  the  social  benefits  of  the  punishment  and  this  is  a  disadvantage.  Retributive  theory  assumes  that  all  human  beings can  make  rational decisions  (Cavadino , 1997) . An   advantage  of  this  theory  is  that   it  restores  balance  between  the  offender  and  the victim.  The  offender  is  thus  able  to  come  back  to  the  society  guilty  free  because  he  has  evened  with  the  victim (Cavadino , 1997) . Another  disadvantage  of  retributive  theory  of  punishment  is  that  its  impractical  to  give  a  punishment  that  commensurate   with  the  offence  so  that  we  can  talk  of  a  balance  between  the  offender  and  the  victim  for  instance  the  case  of  a  rape.  This  theory  also  assumes  that  two  offences  attracting  the  same  punishment  are  similar  in terms  of  harmfulness  and  blameworthiness (Cavadino , 1997) .  For  instance ,  over speeding  and  failure  to  buckle  up  in  a  car , which  attract  equal  punishments   in  Australia,   are  thus   equal  offences  according  to  this  theory  and  this  beats  common  sense.

Utilitarian  theory  of  punishment  is  better  than  retributive  theory  since  it  ends  up  rehabilitating  the   offender  and  this  reduces  crime  rate  in  the  society  hence  resulting  to  a  more  secure  and  happier  society.

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