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Join the conversation! There are now 9 comments on this chapter's page 27. Retribution: Civilized?. What are your thoughts?
  1. noon time says

    I’ve noticed that Europeans have a different conception of justice. As a rule they are far less likely to consider retribution a worthwhile endeavor (they’d ask “Why? Who does it help?”).

    • And yet European courts, even if the sentences overall are lighter, still give harsher sentences for “worse” crimes, regardless of the individual’s propensity for redemption or similar criminals’ likelihood of being deterred. Europe, as always, is in holier-than-thou denial.

      • Say again? When was the last time a European court put anyone into jail for 5 consecutive lifetimes, or put anyone to death for their crime?

          • Retribution is not the *only* reason for scaling, just a primary one. There’s also practicality. If we decided that, say, theft should be met with imprisonment for the purpose of removal, we’re likely to release people who stole little before those who stole much because keeping people locked away is *expensive*.

      • Well, nowhere in Europe has the death penalty, as far as I’m aware. In addition, longer prison sentences for ‘worse’ crimes could be considered more effective removal rather than a form of retaliation. What I do know is that the majority of Europeans are against retaliation as the reasoning behind punishment, although these aren’t necessarily the people who have the greatest say in the legal system.

        • Most Americans oppose retaliation as a purpose of punishment in the criminal justice system as well, at least consciously. Almost no one favors retaliation in the criminal justice system consciously, but almost everyone desires it unconsciously.

        • Retaliation and retribution are not the same thing. Retribution is when people attempt to make the harshness of the punishment proportionate to the severity of the crime. Retaliation is when people attempt to make the punishment disproportionally harsh to the crime.

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