Before I pose my question, I will clarify what I mean by 'punitive justice' in this context.
'Justice' means only the creation and enforcement of laws by a recognized political agency/ authority. There is no implication that these laws are just or moral per se.
'Punitive' means that the afore mentioned law enforcement punishes by design. The law making and enforcing agencies deliberately punish offenders for their crimes under the belief that punishment has intrinsic value.
The question I pose is this: Is there still a place for punitive justice in modern society?
This isn't intended a 'yes' or 'no' question. Shades of grey are encouraged. Various anarchistic views are also relevant. I don't care about thread drift here provided it is drift and not total derailment. Perhaps I'm thinking too narrowly on this subject.
On a side note, disagreeing with my views on this subject is punishable with death by forced Glenn Beck marathon!!!! Grrr.
I am very judgemental. I try not to be. My simple reference is the golden rule, clarified to include everyone with a nervous system and the ability to feel sadness or pain. The eastern religions first teaching of "Ahimsa", which means :"Do no harm" works well. Anyone who chooses to cause the suffering of others for his own benefit, is acting badly, in my view.
I feel rage at those who abuse, starve, rape, or kill someone (including other animals) over whom they have power. I feel vengeful. I imagine poetic justice. I want to carry it out. I might "turn the other cheek" for injustices against me, and I may be forgiving. When the injustice is against some powerless "other", I want retribution. I admit this generally unacceptable point of view. Still, I do do wish to give the power of severe punishment to my government. I do not trust them.