How Psychology is Changing the Punishment Theory Debate

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter shows how psychology is changing the debate about the theory of punishment. Psychology has been more successful, it may be thought, in helping the law to get its best evidence in forensic settings. The American Law Institute's proposed change in the Model Penal Code's ‘purposes’ section is also considered. Under the proposal, the traditional utilitarian mechanisms of deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation can be given play only if they are not inconsistent with an offender's deserved punishment and if there is some evidence to think that they would be effective in that situation.


law, psychology, punishment, Legal Process, Penal Code, deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation

Publication Title

Law and Psychology: Current Legal Issues