What Are the Two Main Functions of Criminal Law?

The main functions of criminal law are to ensure that criminals suffer in some way for the crimes they commit and to deter them from future criminal behavior, according to the Swindle Law Group. Other functions include rehabilitation, incapacitation and restoration.

Criminal law is intended to balance the scales of justice by putting criminals at an unpleasant disadvantage so that they pay for their injurious actions, states the Swindle Law Group. It also satisfies the thirst for hate, anger and revenge. Criminal law imposes penalties that deter offenders from repeating crimes or committing new ones. These penalties also seek to deter other individuals from committing similar offenses.

Criminal law seeks to separate offenders from the rest of the society and protect the public from their dangerous behavior, notes the Swindle Law Group. Lengthy prison sentences, banishment provisions and death sentences achieve this purpose. Through criminal law, the justice system seeks to address the underlying issues that cause people to engage in criminal behavior and, subsequently, transform them into valuable members of society. Criminal law also seeks to repair the injury that the offender inflicted on the victim. The goal is to return the victim to the condition he was in prior to the commission of the crime.