contains a certain amount of pain (and therefore of retribution), but this pain, this retribution is only a concomitant quality, not the end of punishment.
Punishment may not be an end in itself. Where a deliberate offence has been committed, there certainly exists liability to punishment and the offender has no right to complain if punishment is inflicted.
But whether it shall be inflicted, must in every case be decided for the good of society. Punishment is instituted for the good of society. Punishment deters, and determent leads to improvement, whilst improvement leads to the upholding of public order.
The maintenance of public order is the principal factor in promoting the well-being of society. If therefore, in a special case, public order would be better served by withholding punishment than by inflicting it, then such punishment should be withheld.
The good of society predominates: it must therefore be the determinating factor in punishing, it must determine whether punishment shall be inflicted or not.
Now it is obvious that no punishment should be inflicted,
a) if it be of no use for the good of society,
b) it if be unnecessary for the good of society, or
c) if it be hurtful to the good of society.
a) If punishment should be of no use, it must not be inflicted, because being the means to an end, it ought to be rejected as useless, if it fails to attain its purpose.
For this reason very much is to be said in favour of the opinion, that a drunkard should not be punished for his mere offence of drunkenness, in our days of compulsory drinking caused by all kinds of foolish drinking habits and stupid ideas about drink. In this case the punishment has no corrective effect, because its deterrent force is vanquished by the attraction of the social evil.
We do not speak without cause of drunkenness as a national vice, bilt if it is the vice of a whole nation, then the punishment inflicted on an individual, shall, as a rule, not act as a sufficiënt deterrent either on the condemned person or on the viciously inclined in general. We find a sad but eloquent proof for this in the doleful fact that the criminal statistics of the Netherlands