A wise king sifts out the wicked, and brings the threshing wheel over them. (Proverbs 20:26)
It is the responsibility of government to find and punish the wicked. Not either, or, but both. I am not merely taking about civil government, but all government; whether it is the government of the home, workplace or the church. If there is wickedness in the midst of any these institutions, that wickedness must be dealt with or it will eventually lead to the demise of that institution. Punishing wickedness drives away that wickedness. When the potential perpetrator of a crime knows that there will be swift and just punishment for that crime, there will inevitably be less crime. From children in the home to the businessmen in the marketplace, "the rod of correction will drive it far from him." Say what you may, just punishment prevents or drives out wickedness in every realm. It is not a matter of the punishment meeting the crime; it is a matter of the punishment changing the criminal.