In Gregg v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that retribution is a valid justification for punishment. The following passage is from the court’s ruling:
The death penalty is said to serve two principal social purposes: retribution and deterrence of capital crimes by prospective offenders. In part, capital punishment is an expression of society’s moral outrage at particularly offensive conduct. This function may be unappealing to many, but it is essential in an ordered society that asks its citizens to rely on legal processes rather than self-help to vindicate their wrongs. “The instinct for retribution is part of the nature of man, and channeling that instinct in the administration of criminal justice serves an important purpose in promoting the stability of a society governed by law. When people begin to believe that organized society is unwilling or unable to impose upon criminal offenders the punishment they `deserve,’ then there are sown the seeds of anarchy – of self-help, vigilante justice, and lynch law.”
Do you agree that retribution is a valid justification for punishment? Why or why not? Please also respond to two other posts by your fellow students.