Even at this stage the vindictive or retributive character of punishment remains, but gradually, and specially after the humanist movement under thinkers like Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, new theories begin to emerge.
He was a man of peace, hating war not less than he did slavery; but he warned his countrymen that if they refused to abolish slavery by moral power a retributive war must sooner or later ensue.
On the one hand the retributive principle itself has been very largely superseded by the protective and the reformative; on the other punishments involving bodily pain have become objectionable to the general sense of society.
Humanitarian moralists, who hesitate to believe in the retributive theory of punishment because, as they think, its aim is not the criminal's future well-being but merely the vindication through pain of an outrage upon the moral law which the criminal need never have committed, might welcome a theory which urges that the sole aim of punishment should be the exercise of an influence determining the criminal's future conduct for his own or the social good.
Thus the retributive theory of punishment with its criterion of justice as an end in itself gives place to a theory which regards punishment solely as a means to an end, utilitarian or moral, according as the common advantage or the good of the criminal is sought.