Essay on John Stuart Mill and Criminal Justice

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Theory of Justice Analysis
Luca D. Iaria
University of Phoenix
CJA 532/ Ethics in Justice and Security
Professor: Cyril Vierra February 2, 2015

The United States has held out against taking part in any of the world consensus that there should be a court of human rights or that there should be an international court of criminal justice. - Roger Waters
Theory of Justice Analysis Three well- known theories of justice include the Utilitarianism, Justice as Fairness, and Libertarianism theories. Utilitarianism is a theory of justice that finds that laws are put in place to ensure the good of all society and members of society would receive equal consideration under the law. The justice as fairness theory finds there should be a fair and equal social contract for the individuals in the society should have the right to social and economic fairness and equal natural rights. Libertarianism is a theory that emphasizes individual liberty and has a right to pursue a desirable life. The utilitarianism theory is a normative ethical theory that places the locus of right and wrong solely on the consequences of choosing one action over another action (Pogge, 2004). Based on Bentham’s Principles of Utility people are rational actors bound by pain or pleasure. The individual will agree or disagree with a criminal behavior based on the consequence of threat behavior. For example, the consequence of a murder is the death of a victim. The consequence will define the type of punishment that will be set. The extent of the effect of the action will determine the measure of pleasure or pain. The Utilitarianism Theory developed by John Stuart Mills rejects the more hedonistic pleasure and pain qualities of Bentham’s theory and instead finds that happiness is the central theme of Utilitarianism. People are seeking pleasure but instead are seeking a quality of life that will result in happiness. Act-utilitarianism, however: finds the principle of utility is applied directly to each alternative act in a situation of choice (Cavalier, 2002). Therefore, in other words the moral or ethical act is clear on what brings about the most positive result or the result that will bring about the least harm. Rule- utilitarianism establishes the moral principles or the rules of law that will come first by members of society. The principle of the Justice as Fairness includes liberty and equality. The liberty principle finds that citizens in society should have equal access to civil liberties. The liberties include the right to privacy, freedom of speech, and due process rights. Under this principle, equality is primary and important and must never be infringed even in the pursuit of liberty. Based on the equality principle social and economic inequalities should be arranged to ensure the least advantaged would receive the highest benefit and every one citizens receive an equal opportunity in society to reach success. When there is a departure from equality, the result is crime. Therefore, for a society to be just the members must benefit. The libertarianism theory main consider is on the citizen’s individual liberties and finds a society must establish institutions and process designed to protect these individual liberties. Based on the Libertarian view people are rational end-choosers that must be free to choose their own ends and free to pursue them without interference from others (Pogge, 2004). This is the basis of a society where citizens are afforded free will and the right to pursue happiness. Based on the theory each citizen is on his or her own and responsible for his or her own survival. Utilitarianism focuses on the outcome of an action while in traditional utilitarianism the act is acknowledged by the resulting happiness. Traditional utilitarianism was written by Jeremy…