Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (3):431-452 (2017)

An influential strain in the literature on state punishment analyzes the permissibility of punishment in exclusively deontological terms, whether in terms of an individual’s rights, the state’s obligation to vindicate the law, or both. I argue that we should reject a deontological theory of punishment because it cannot explain what is unjust about mass incarceration, although mass incarceration is widely considered—including by proponents of deontological theories—to be unjust. The failure of deontological theories suggests a minimum criterion of adequacy for a theory of punishment: it must take aggregation sufficiently seriously that it returns plausible results when scaled up from individual cases to large public institutions. In this vein, I briefly sketch a prioritarian metric for evaluating the use of custodial sanctions as a means of creating and allocating social advantage.
Keywords Criminal justice  Criminal law  Punishment  Incarceration
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-015-9378-x
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References found in this work BETA

Rights and State Punishment.Christopher Heath Wellman - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (8):419-439.

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