Retributive justice  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Retributive justice is a theory of justice that proportionate punishment is a morally acceptable response to crime, regardless of whether the punishment causes any tangible benefits.

In ethics and law, "Let the punishment fit the crime" is the principle that the severity of penalty for a misdeed or wrongdoing should be reasonable and proportional to the severity of the infraction. The concept is common to most cultures throughout the world. Its presence in the ancient Jewish culture is shown by its inclusion in the law of Moses, specifically in Deuteronomy 19:17-21, which includes the punishments of "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." Many other documents reflect this value in the world's cultures. However, the judgment of whether a punishment is appropriately severe can vary greatly between cultures and individuals.

Proportionality requires that the level of punishment be scaled relative to the severity of the offending behaviour. However, this does not mean that the punishment has to be equivalent to the crime. A retributive system must punish severe crime more harshly than minor crime, but retributivists differ about how harsh or soft the system should be overall.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Retributive justice" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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