The purpose of penalty is four-fold: punish the perpetrator, compensate the victim, set an example to society, and reform the perpetrator. In the case of Ariel Castro, who has pleaded guilty to kidnapping three women and holding them and a child captive for close to 10 years, only the first and third objectives of punishment would be met: he will be punished and the punishment will set an example to society.
In order to avoid a possible death penalty, Castro has entered a guilty plea to over 700 counts of kidnapping and other charges in a deal with prosecutors of the Cleveland, Ohio case. He will then be sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years. There is no way Castro will be able to compensate his victims, nor would he care to do so, and although an example of what happens to his kind of criminal will be set for society, it is questionable if Castro would be “reformed” at all.
Castro is not society’s problem. Society’s problems are the victims. Society needs to make sure the three women and one child who were freed from years of cruel captivity are able to return into its fold and lead normal lives.