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RETRIBUTISM

The view that people who commit a crime should be punished because they have done wrong. It takes on two froms, which in religious terms may be called expiatory and penal. A criminal, it is held, should expiate his or her disobedience of the law, and should suffer some penalty for the harm he or she has done to society.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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