The punishment philosophy of retribution or revenge is evidenced by Case 2. Retribution, which originated from Judeo-Christian tradition, is a strict liability theory which, simply stated, mandates that the punishment fit the crime. As our readings reflect, retribution-revenge mandates an eye for an eye. Accordingly, based on this theory, it is perfectly logical that the pick pocket in Case2 have his hand amputated.
While the intent behind this philosophy is not deterrence, it would seem logical that those who witness such an event would think twice before committing crimes in Saudi Arabia. There is however a component that serves as a deterrent because of the increase in penalty that Islamic law provides in the event of a “relapse”. Here, the Saudi Arabian punishment is proper because the perpetrator got what he deserved.
Case 1, is interesting because while the reading suggests that there is not a public consensus in the rankings of the moral gravity of particular types of crime, that is exactly what happened here. The Chinese court had already imposed sentencing which was later reduced as a result of public outcry on the internet. Thus the retributive maxim of Lex talionis is alive and well in the Eastern region.
Reduction notwithstanding, this type of punishment falls into the realm of incapacitation. It would be described as incapacitation because the offender is being incarcerated and taken away from the opportunity to commit the crime (recidivism) for five years. Also known as “penal bondage” the jailed inmate is physically restrained from immediate criminal opportunities.
Case 3 is a scenario that does not fit neatly into any of the categories offered by the readings. The defendant was not incarcerated and her hand was not amputated. Loosely speaking, it could fall under the category of incapacitation because there is probation and the defendant is under a watchful eye. This example is alluded to in the readings but the reading does note that there is intensive supervision and this limited fact pattern only says “probation”. Thus although loosely defined, case 3 appears to be a form of selective incapacitation because the defendant is on probation.
Q2) What types of sanctions (economic sanctions, incapacitative sanctions, and corporal punishment) did criminals in each of these cases receive?
Case 1 received incapacitative sanctions because the defendant was sent to prison and removed from the environment.
Case 2 received corporal punishment
Case 3 received selective incapacitation
Q3) Argue whether or not the sentence Winona Ryder received for shoplifting serves any purpose of justice in the context of how other nations punish similar criminals.
I don’t think that the sentence that Winona Ryder received for shoplifting served any purpose of justice in the context of how other nations punish similar criminals. This is not to say that she should have her hands chopped off, been shackled or even been placed in shock camp.
Corporal punishment, in any form would not have appropriate here. However, it cannot be said that community service and probation was meaningful either. It does not fit into the category of general deterrence because it is likely that the “regular joe” that stole $6000 worth of merchandise would not have received such a light sentence. It boils down to the question of relativity. In other words, the sentence could be a marginal deterrence to other Hollywood stars but not necessarily to the general populace. Against the context of how other nations punish similar criminals Winona Ryder’s sentence serves no purpose of justice.