Source: (1999) UCLA Law Review. 46: 1801.

Stephen Garvey begins this essay by asking the reader to imagine how an ideal community – whether a group of friends, a church, a synagogue, a family, or other – deals with members of the community who commit a wrong. His aim is to develop an account of punishment – what it is, how it works, and what it means – in an ideal community. He contends that punishment in such a community would be a form of penance aimed at the expiation of the wrongdoer’s guilt and reconciliation with the victim and the community. Garvey then uses this atonement model of punishment to highlight the shortcomings of other models of punishment, including the commonly accepted models of deterrence and retribution.