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 fully support Loop.
My answer to Judith's question is that we should attempt to rehabilitate the offender while incarcerated to ensure that once released back into society he can rejoin as a productive member and not reoffend. The horrible act has been commited, and it is impossible to reverse. Rape is about violence (it is not a sexual act) and violence is most often the expression of deeper psychological issues which may be treated.
The pursuit of revenge is much effective in reducing crime than rehabilitating the offender. As for evidence, the least violent societies are generally among those with the most liberal treatment of convicts.