Looking at the definitions of the punishment concepts above, it can be noted that each understanding has got its strong points and weak points. This makes it hard to prefer one concept and disregard the other. What is important, therefore, is to sieve the strong points in each concept in order to identify a more convincing and yet balanced approach to punishment.
There are check and balances in the use of punishment and mainly in fostering a just social system. According to the liberal theory of punishment, punishment should never destroy a person’s dignity. It must be grounded on fundamental human principles; punishment must never contradict or violate the rights of the offender as humans. Here, the offender’s guilt must be established through due process; the response to the offence must be commensurate with the offence committed. In this respect, there exists a direct proportionality between the offence and the punishment for the offence (Bedau, 2005).
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