J.P. Moreland was introduced to me by my former brother-in-law Curt. I have been an admirer of Moreland's ability to reason through many issues of the day and present a clear and understandable discussion of the topic that is both relevant and true.
Over at Scriptorium Daily, Mr. Moreland has a bunch of posts on culture and Christianity. His latest puts into words something I've been trying to explain to people for years. Punishment has nothing to do with rehabilitation!
Until the 1950’s, there were four aspects of and goals for criminal justice: punishment, deterrence, protection of society, and rehabilitation. Here are three crucial points about the list. (1) Only the first one (punishment) requires taking the crime as intrinsically evil. It looks back in time at the crime, sees the balance of good and evil in the universe as disturbed, and seeks to right those scales and punish evil simply because it is evil and not because punishment would bring about good future benefits to society (or victims). Punishment is unrelated to revenge whose presence or absence is irrelevant to the appropriateness of the punishment.
The rest of the post is just as good. Check it out...