This paper reviews psychological research on the effectiveness of punishment, particularly in the justice system. It was written in the context of Australian and overseas trends showing an increasing reliance on punishment as a primary response to crime.

The paper discusses situations in which punishment has positive and negative effects. It also raises the limited ability of punishment to achieve rehabilitation and deter re-offence.

Initiatives for preventing criminal and antisocial behaviour through early intervention are proposed, as well as alternative ways to treat criminal behaviour. The paper concludes with recommendations for actions and policy changes.

Punishment and behaviour change - Acrobat icon - small (80kb). To go straight to a specific section in the report, click on the quick index headings on the front page.