How does the "morality of punishment" relate to human rights according to Arthur F. Holmes?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter 10 of Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions. Holmes argues for a form of justice that combines retributive and utilitarian approaches. He thinks that people ought to be punished for the crimes they commit, not simply rehabilitated. This is because he believes that people are moral agents, who are responsible for their own actions. Yet he also argues that any retributive justice must take into account the consequences of the punishment. He says that biblical law supports a justice "tempered by love," and that all punishments ought to be undertaken with the rights of the accused in mind, and claims that when presented with options for punishment, that "love will always seek the more redemptive alternative." Generally, Holmes proposes a system that provides retributive justice while also rehabilitating the offender, an approach that he believes is most consistent with human rights and with Scriptural teaching.


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