Jean Hampton's Moral Education Theory Of Punishment Analysis

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The central idea behind Jean Hampton's Moral Education Theory of Punishment (MET) is that it is best to educate criminals on their wrongdoings without handing down any physical punishments or ramifications. Hampton believes that excessive harm is not a moral response to a crime committed by a person. Rather, she argues that the point of basic punishment is to teach the wrongdoer that the action they did or wanted to do is forbidden, on the basis that it is morally wrong according to society. Therefore, according to Hampton, it is much healthier to educate criminals rather than handing down difficult physical punishments, which simply hurts the criminal and can be unproductive. To elaborate, Hampton proposes that any form of punishment is justified …show more content…

The attractiveness of this theory is primarily based on the ethical code that Hampton subscribes to, which is that pain-inflicted punishments should not be condoned when it comes to disciplining wrongdoers. Rather, constructive analysis done pertaining to why certain actions are morally wrong in society would be intellectually stimulating and productive for both the wrongdoers and the public, all while avoiding the infliction of physical pain. Compared to the retributivist argument, which circulates around the idea that the purpose of punishment is to make wrongdoers pay for their misdeeds, and that they should be treated the way that they have treated others, the MET is a more humane way to treat wrongdoers, and in the long run, would perhaps help them emerge from confinement as better citizens within society, rather than as potential repeat offenders. Therefore, the appeal of the MET stems from the positive implications of treating wrongdoers with respect and dignity, all while teaching them why their actions were wrong while simultaneously instilling positive and moral values in their psyche before allowing them to re-enter …show more content…

An attitude of optimism towards the MET would be needed from Hampton in order to convince retributivists of this argument. Hampton would argue that deep down, every sensible human being has a moral compass, and that with the support of a society that seeks to educate wrongdoers, these people would be able to reemerge within society as wholesome and righteous people. Hampton would also argue that because of the supposed "mercy" shown towards the wrongdoers, pertaining to the avoidance of physical punishment, the wrongdoers would be so thankful that they would be more than willing to correct their immoral lifestyles. Finally, Hampton would argue that the MET grants each person autonomy over their own lives, which is a basic human right. These arguments may not completely refute the argument of retributivists, but it does give Hampton some sort of grounded argument that she can build off of, as she herself states that she is unable to give an adequate development of the MET in her

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