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Texas Penal Code Sec. 1.02

Section 1.02 of the Texas Penal Code covers the objectives of the code and is based mainly on the idea of deterrence and rehabilitation as purposes in the criminal justice system. The theories of the criminal justice system's purpose vary, but they all share the goal of maintaining public safety and ensuring justice for all.

Deterrence Theory

One of the primary theories of the criminal justice system is deterrence theory. This theory suggests that the criminal justice system's purpose is to prevent crime by making potential offenders think twice before committing a criminal act. This can be achieved through the use of punishments such as fines, imprisonment, or even the death penalty. The idea is that the fear of punishment will deter individuals from engaging in criminal activity.

Retribution Theory

Another theory of the criminal justice system is retribution theory. This theory is based on the idea that those who commit crimes should be punished proportionately to the harm they caused. The punishment should be seen as a form of retribution or payback for the harm inflicted on society. This theory suggests that justice is served when criminals are punished, and their victims receive some form of closure.

Rehabilitation Theory

The rehabilitation theory of the criminal justice system is based on the idea that the purpose of the criminal justice system is to reform offenders and help them become productive members of society. This theory suggests that punishing offenders does not address the root cause of their criminal behavior. Instead, the criminal justice system should focus on helping offenders address their underlying issues, such as substance abuse, mental health problems, or lack of education or job skills.

Restorative Justice Theory

Restorative justice theory is a relatively new theory of the criminal justice system. This theory emphasizes the importance of repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior. Rather than focusing solely on punishing offenders, the criminal justice system should work to restore relationships between offenders, victims, and the community. This may involve bringing together those affected by the crime to discuss the harm caused and to work on a plan for repair.

Sec. 1.02.  OBJECTIVES OF CODE.  The general purposes of this code are to establish a system of prohibitions, penalties, and correctional measures to deal with conduct that unjustifiably and inexcusably causes or threatens harm to those individual or public interests for which state protection is appropriate.  To this end, the provisions of this code are intended, and shall be construed, to achieve the following objectives:
(1)  to insure the public safety through:

(A)  the deterrent influence of the penalties hereinafter provided;
(B)  the rehabilitation of those convicted of violations of this code;  and
(C)  such punishment as may be necessary to prevent likely recurrence of criminal behavior;

(2)  by definition and grading of offenses to give fair warning of what is prohibited and of the consequences of violation;

(3)  to prescribe penalties that are proportionate to the seriousness of offenses and that permit recognition of differences in rehabilitation possibilities among individual offenders;

(4)  to safeguard conduct that is without guilt from condemnation as criminal;

(5)  to guide and limit the exercise of official discretion in law enforcement to prevent arbitrary or oppressive treatment of persons suspected, accused, or convicted of offenses;  and

(6)  to define the scope of state interest in law enforcement against specific offenses and to systematize the exercise of state criminal jurisdiction.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.  Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.


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