To what extent is it possible to make the punishment fit the crime?

YES: Society has access to a diverse range of institutions, processes and belief-systems that enable the fitting of punishments to crimes, thereby promoting justice for all.   

  1. Some societies recognize the need to provide adequate closure for victims of severe crime and have developed various trial and sentencing practices which ensure that offenders are punished appropriately and in accordance to the nature of their crime.

  2. The extent of blame for criminals guilty of offenses which cause widespread harm may be accurately determined by the lawful and legally empowered authorities, making it highly possible to sentence them appropriately and accurately.

  3. Legal institutions and processes are refined over time to account for the changing social and political realities that push offenders to crime, ensuring that sentencing is fair and proportionate to the nature, scale and motivation informing the offence.

NO: The nature and manifestation of crime today is increasingly complex and unmanageable, making it difficult for society to make punishments fit crimes while ensuring the aims of justice.    

  1. The origins and root causes of some severe crimes are highly complex in nature, making attempts to punish the offender appropriately difficult as blame cannot be assigned fully to the perpetrator alone.

  2. Crimes which cause widespread harm may have been committed by a group of individuals or even an entire community with diverse motivations and profiles at the time of offence, making it highly difficult for the authorities to assign a common and appropriately assessed sentence to all.

  3. Rapidly evolving social and political realities prevent legal institutions and processes from accurately assessing and adjusting to the nature, scale and motivations of offences, making it increasingly difficult if not impossible to fit punishments to offences.