The Meaning and Nature of Punishment:  by David  Shichor
223 pages, $29.95 list
1-57766-387-X
978-1-57766-387-4
The Meaning and Nature of Punishment
There are conflicting theories and opinions about the laws, rules, and customs that regulate everyday life and about how to deal with those who violate accepted standards. Formal punishment of individuals as an organized reaction to lawbreaking prompts serious debates concerning justice versus utility, universality versus particularity, and consensus versus conflict.

The problematic nature of punishment has been a major philosophical and practical concern in Western societies for centuries. Who has the right to punish? How should society punish? How much punishment is just? Punishment involves agencies and representatives of government depriving people of their liberty. It is a means of social control intended to cause a measure of "suffering" to those who violate the law and harm others. Punishing a member of society raises serious moral and ethical concerns; it also raises questions about social issues such as equality and discrimination.

Punishment is a component of the criminal justice system commonly taken for granted. Most individuals have an opinion about punishment based on their general view of what is right and what is wrong. There are, however, invisible aspects of punishment that affect not only those who break the law and those directly affected by the incarceration of the lawbreaker but also the society that decides what type of punishment is meted out. The theoretical arguments and justifications for punishment reveal the values of society concerning justice, human rights, social equality, and relations between the state and its citizens.
Reviews
“What is the meaning and nature of punishment? A simple question. Finding an answer is very complex. Anyone interested in the study of punishment, whether hang ’em high or restorative justice, should read this book. In fact, the general public should read it first.” — Daniel L. Partrich, Mid-America Nazarene University
Table of Contents
Introduction

Part I. THE “WHY” OF PUNISHMENT

1. Social Control
Formal and Informal Controls / Civil and Criminal Law / Punishment

2. Cultural, Social, and Symbolic Aspects of Law and Punishment
Social Organization and Social Control / Formal Rationality / Models of Law / Symbolic Functions of Law

3. Theories and Justifications of Punishment
Retribution / Deterrence / Incapacitation / Rehabilitation / Reintegration / Sustaining the Morale of the Conformists

4. Recent Trends in Penal Policies and Practices
Neo-Retributionist Orientation / Neo-Utilitarian Orientation / Contemporary Debates / Selective Incapacitation / Restorative Justice / The New Penology

Part II. THE “HOW” OF PUNISHMENT

5. Evolution of Incarceration
Galleys and Workhouses / Banishment and Transportation

6. The Emergence of Penitentiaries and Prisons
Enlightenment Influences / Quakers and the Pennsylvania System / The Auburn System / Prison Expansion / Total Institutions / Inmate Subcultures / Incarceration as Policy

7. Emerging Issues: Private Prisons and Women’s Prisons
Private Prisons / Women’s Prisons

8. Parole
Alexander Maconochie / Conditional Release / Political Functions / Public Disfavor

9. Probation and Intermediate Sanctions
Probation / Intermediate Sanctions

10. Capital Punishment
Historical Roots / Constitutionality / Rationales and Concerns

11. Special Issues in Punishment
Mandatory Sentences and Three-Strikes Laws / Sentencing Commissions and Alternative Courts / The Enduring Effects of Punishment / Punishment of White-Collar and Corporate Crime / Conclusion