But in real life the most important purpose of punishment is still retribution. If retribution were not the primary purpose, then the severity of the offense would not be scaled to the severity of the crime. So were these reformers disingenuous or just unsuccessful?
Clarification: The character said that the purpose of criminal law is not to spank the wrongdoer. But if the primary purpose of punishment is retribution, then the real purpose of criminal law is to spank the wrongdoer.