Source: (2006) Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

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 justice? 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. (publisher’s description)