Retribution is the application of proportionate punishment to an individual who has gone against the law of the land or one that has committed a crime. When an individual breaks law, justice demands that such a person is punished in return. Retribution is different from vengeance since it is meant for the wrongs committed and is not in any way a personal matter (Judah, 78). Retribution follows laid down standards depending on the country of an individual. In retribution, the severity of a punishment or penalty is dependent on the severity of an individual’s wrong doing. Additionally, the difference in cultures also dictates the severity of an individual’s punishment. This may range from jail terms to death penalties or a lifetime of jail terms. The theory of retribution has been in existence since immemorial and is considered as the best way of punishing individuals in the society. However, different people have different views in regard to retribution.
According to David Byler, death penalty should not be part of retribution in a society that considers justice as its basis for punishment. In his article, he argues that a favorable justice system will not adopt death penalty as part of its retribution strategies. According to Byler, the present justice system only acts according to the weight of harm of individuals. Heavy weight punishments are given to individuals who come up with plans that may badly harm others. Byler goes on to argue that the idea of picking a punishment that fits a particular crime is arguable since it only considers the societal safety and not the safety of an individual (Byler). Death penalty as a form of retribution attracts argument since there is lack of an independent argument as to why an individual deserves death as a penalty and not rehabilitation. The article also points out the idea that there is a logical inconsistency. Byler argues that individuals who commit the crime of rape are not subjected to rape as a punishment as well as those who involve themselves in molestation. He concludes that rehabilitation should be adopted other than death penalty (Byler).
In my view, retribution should be inclusive of death penalty as one of the punishments. This is because most of the crimes that deserve death penalty are often carried out in a very systematic way, and the participants always take time to plan for crime. Such people should be jailed or killed to prevent the loss of more lives in the society. Retributive justice should be encouraged since it gives individuals who violate the rights of humans the justice they deserve. Punishment offered is aimed at reinforcing the rules of law and offer unfair advantages to them that have violated the law. Retribution does not only offer punishments but restorative justice to criminals. Criminals are walked through the path of restoration which returns them back to their right positions in life. In conclusion, retribution should be encouraged as part of justice in the present society. Offenders should be subjected to punishments that are equivalent to the crimes they have committed. This does not only help in reduction of crimes in the society but helps in restoring individuals to their rightful positions. Death penalty should not be ignored in the systems of justice. It should be part of the punishments offered to individuals that carry out high crime levels.
Byler, David, “The Death Penalty is Immoral and Ineffective.” The Prince Tory (2011).
Judah, Eleanor. Criminal Justice: Retribution Vs. Restoration. (2013). NY: Routledge. Print.