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This paper develops a theoretical framework for investigating the socialpsychological dynamics of punishment reactions to criminal offenders. Two basic types of punishment motives are delineated: behavior control and retribution. The target, or focus, of these motives may be the offender or a broader social audience. Within each of the four cells defined by this classification, we review the literature describing how punishment responses are influenced by characteristics of the rule, the offense, and the offender, as well as by the attitude and personality of the reactor. A large number of empirically testable propositions are generated.

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Criminal Law Commons