''Deterrent Punishment and Respect for Persons''

Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 8 (2):369-384 (2011)
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Abstract

This article defends deterrence as an aim of punishment. Specifically, I contend that a system of punishment aimed at deterrence (with constraints to prohibit punishing the innocent or excessively punishing the guilty) is consistent with the liberal principle of respect for offenders as autonomous moral persons. I consider three versions of the objection that deterrent punishment fails to respect offenders. The first version, raised by Jeffrie Murphy and others, charges that deterrent punishment uses offenders as mere means to securing the social good of crime reduction. The second and third are developed by R.A. Duff. The second holds that deterrent punishment inappropriately excludes offenders from the moral community. The third charges that deterrent punishment offers community members the wrong sorts of reasons to comply with the law. I conclude that each of these objections fails. A system of punishment aimed at deterrence (suitably constrained) is consistent with respect for offenders as moral persons.

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Zachary Hoskins
Nottingham University

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