Punishment of criminals

Leandro Mancano, Deborah Russo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Both the purposes of punishment and the forms it should take have always been controversial. Following a brief historical overview, this article considers these two aspects of the topic. The main arguments for and against the adoption of rehabilitation, deterrence, incapacitation, and retribution as the purpose—or one of the purposes—of punishment are considered, as well as restitution and more recent concerns with restorative justice. Afterward, the focus moves on to the coming into being and evolution of prison, as well as on contemporary problems and specific categories of prisoners. Similarly, other institutions of punishment are reviewed, such as the death penalty, fines, and other sanctions in the community. Finally, the article provides insight into the approach to punishment as it is emerging from European Union law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict
EditorsLester Kurz
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128203125
ISBN (Print)9780128201954
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2022


  • punishment
  • penology
  • criminals
  • retribution
  • rehabilitation
  • prison
  • European Union


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