The presented study is devoted to the issues of disclosing the content of
the goals of criminal punishment, analyzing the possibilities of their actual achievement in
the practical implementation of criminal punishment, determining the political and legal
significance of the goals of criminal punishment indicated in the criminal legislation.
The purpose of punishment as a definition of criminal legislation was formed relatively
recently, despite the fact that theories of criminal punishment and the purposes of its
application began to form long before our era. These doctrinal teachings, in essence, boil
down to defining two diametrically opposed goals of criminal punishment: retribution and
prevention. The state, on the other hand, determines the priority of one or another goal of
the punishment assigned for the commission of a crime.
The criminal policy of Russia as a whole is focused on mitigating the criminal law
impact on the offender. One of the manifestations of this direction is the officially declared
humanization of the current criminal legislation of the Russian Federation. However,
over the course of several years, the announced “humanization of criminal legislation”
has followed the path of amending and supplementing the Criminal Code of the Russian
Federation: introducing additional opportunities for exemption from criminal liability and
punishment, reducing the limits of punishments specified in the sanctions of articles of the
Special Part of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and including in the system of
criminal punishments of types of measures that do not imply isolation from society. At the
same time the goals of criminal punishment are not legally revised, although the need for
such a decision has already matured.
Based on consideration of the opinions expressed in the scientific literature regarding
the essence of those listed in Part 2 of Art. 43 of the Criminal Code of the Russian
Federation, the goals of punishment are determined that each of them is subject to
reasonable criticism in view of the abstract description or the impossibility of achieving
in the process of law enforcement (criminal and penal) activities. This circumstance gives
rise to the need to revise the content of the goals of criminal punishment and to determine
one priority goal that meets the needs of modern Russian criminal policy.
According to the results of the study the conclusion is substantiated that the only
purpose of criminal punishment can be considered to ensure proportionality between
the severity of the punishment imposed and the social danger (harmfulness) of the crime
committed. This approach to determining the purpose of criminal punishment is fully
consistent with the trends of modern criminal policy in Russia, since it does not allow the
use of measures, the severity of which, in terms of the amount of deprivation and legal
restrictions, clearly exceeds the social danger of the committed act. In addition, it is
proportionality, not prevention, that underlies justice – one of the fundamental principles
of criminal law.
Keywords: criminal punishment; restoration of social justice; correction of the convicted person; general and private prevention; criminal policy; humanization of criminal legislation
Professor of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the Law Faculty of the Vologda Institute of Law and Economics of the Federal Penal Service of Russia, Vologda, Russian Federation PhD. in Law, Associate Professor, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation.
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Head of the Department of Fire Training of the Academy of the Federal Penal Service of Russia, Ryazan, Russian Federation.
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