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Punishing Violations Theories

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) .

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) .

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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