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Justice System and Punishment

Justice System and Punishment

Author: Paul Hannan

This lesson will explore the criminal justice system in the United States through the exploration of plea bargaining, due process, retribution, deterrence, societal protection, and rehabilitation.

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Notes on "Justice System and Punishment"

Terms to Know

Criminal justice system

 The organizations that are part of society response to alleged law breaking. 

Due process 

The justice system must follow the law (fair notice, a hearing, a judge or jury). 

Plea bargaining 

An agreement where the offender agrees to a guilt plea for a lesser charge. 


Using punishment to punish the offend as much as the victim(s) suffered.


Using punishment as a way to stop other from committing crimes.


Attempting to reform the offender so he/she does not re-offend. 

Societal protection 

Protecting society by removing the offender.


  • Rehabilitation

    A function of punishment that seeks to make the offender better and removed of their troubles.

  • Deterrence

    A function of punishment that makes the offender an example for the rest of society.

  • Retribution

    A function of punishment that makes the offender suffer in proportion to the suffering they inflicted.

  • Societal Protection

    A way to control deviance and protect society by locking up offenders or sentencing them to the death penalty.

  • Plea Bargaining

    An agreement where the accused pleads guilty to a charge in exchange for a lesser sentence.

  • Due Process

    The idea that the entire justice system must follow the laws laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

  • Criminal Justice System

    An institutionalized system comprised of police, courts, and law that is designed to control and mitigate the effects of deviance in society.