Retributivism is about making the wrongdoers suffer. Yet its moral groundings are problematic in that the victims are the ones enduring these retribution feelings leading them to irrational emotions of vengeance and wanting death. On the contrast, the offender subjected to capital punishment, their family feelings of grief and sorrow, which do not want death, are disregarded (Cavadino et al 1992). How do you justify what is right and what is wrong? Do the ends justify the means?
Retributivism is closely allied with reductivism, as supporters of capital punishment believe it is a necessary process in order to deter crime. Reductivism is consequential in that, it is an outcome driven to deter future wrongdoings. Its argument can be supported by the form of moral reasoning known as utilitarianism. Having capital punishment can cause potential offenders to change their mind about committing crime by knowing what punishment awaits them.
Capital punishment illustrates disapproval that society has placed on the crime. It makes people more aware of the law, its power and in return building respect for the law and the legal system. In addition the existence of capital punishment can provide a cause for social conformity (Chan et al 2004). However there are many studies and statistics that try to combat the justification of capital punishment (Honderich 1984). Chan et al (2004) point out that capital punishment does not deter the commission of homicide.
They suggest that there are mitigating factors to every crime, possible even antecedents that have helped the growth of a criminal (Chan et al 2004). Can it be argued then that having punishment without the death penalty is more than enough suffering for any offender? Then there is the view that criminality is an illness, no different to a cancer patient, meaning the offender should have the right to treatment, to be rehabilitated, to feel remorse and reformed to be able to function in a normal society. Is long term penal incarceration not deterrent enough?
Some would argue absolutely no, with the suggestion that some offenders welcome prison, seeing it as a refuge from the outside wide (Cavadino et al 1992). On the other hand some would argue that capital punishment is too ruthless and a disregard to humanity. Overall both 'retribution' and 'reductivism' theories do have valid points and evidence to suggest it is justifiable to use capital punishment, but there is also challenging evidence that advocates that it is not right, nor justified to use capital punishment (Honderich 1984).
How were the welfare-penal institutions that were applied to Aboriginal people different from the strategies of penal welfare applied to others? There has been a definite distinction of inequality amid the Australian Indigenous people and the white European Australian's, which dates back to 1788 when the British declared settlement (). This ill treatment of Aboriginal people inflicted by white Australia has been constant and existent throughout history and many aspects of Australian society.
For example The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody reported a discovery that not only was their high deaths of Aboriginal people in custody, but rather that they were simply incarcerated at much higher rates (Hogg, 2001). A way of defining the ailing treatment of Aboriginal people is through the welfare-penal institutions. The welfare-penal institutions were a new product of the penal system that brought about change in which offenders were inserted and categorised according to the severity of their offence.
This new penal creation has produced legislation measures such as Probation Act 1907, Prevention of Crime Act 1908 and Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914 (Garland, 1981). These measures have reformed traditional punishment to a more personalised structure of regulation. It is pointed out "that these institutions are in fact normalizing rather than punitive" (Garland, 1981: 64). Furthermore the welfare-penal system was to be modeled around correction, integration and optimal social functioning.
Yet it has been seen that Aboriginal people have been excluded from these new welfare-penal institutions and the normalising process. Aboriginals were deemed not worthy of this process as there were plans to wipe them and their culture out e. g. stolen generation, rather than support and nurture them. Their welfare was managed much differently compared to others in that they were governed very strictly under the political and bureaucratic authority of the state. They were denied rights and forcefully refrained from taking part in social institutions of civil society (i. e. they were excluded from voting) (Hogg, 2001).
Segregation regimes were in place in order to keep Aboriginal people remote from the rest, especially in schools, housing, and other public facilities. Even when segregation stopped in the 1960's, Aboriginal communities were faced with the battle of market, legal and social institutions, which highly discriminated against Aboriginals due to their race. In other words they were not welcomed into the Australian society; segregation had left a long lasting residue, which drove so many Aboriginal members to commit crime and in addition lead them to penal incarceration (Hogg, 2001).