AN APPRAISAL OF THE THEORIES OF CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT: TOWARDS PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

O. J. JEJELOLA, Akin Olawale Oluwadayisi, Alaba Ibironke Kekere

Abstract


The aim of criminal law in most of the African countries is premised on punishment of a convicted offender. This is because criminal offence is contrary to the common goal of the society and as such, it is regarded as a breach against the state. While this fact is true, the offender in most cases is equally a member of the same society which means he is working against the collaborative peace of the society, in which he lives, enjoys freedom and derives his sustenance. This presents a contradiction that is generally expressed in a Yoruba adage thus: “adiye ba lokun, ara ko r’okun, ara ko ro adiye”-meaning, when a hen jumps on a tied rope, both the rope and the hen will not experience peace as long as the hen remains on it.” This proverbial philosophy necessitates an appraisal of the theories of punishment in our criminal justice system in Africa. This paper is therefore poised to unearth the rationale behind each theory of criminal punishment through the use of doctrinal approach. It reviews available literatures on the subject matter and argues that the cause of commission of criminal offence must be sexamined and understood to be able to apportion appropriate punishment or sanction. The paper makes useful recommendations towards peace and security in Africa.

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