Law and Philosophy 41 (2):169-191 (2022)

Douglas Husak
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Lately it has become a commonplace to complain about the injustice of mass incarceration. I share the sentiment that this phenomenon has been an injustice. But it also has become orthodoxy to allege that the acceptance of a retributive penal philosophy has been one of the chief factors that has brought about mass incarceration in the first place. As a self-proclaimed retributivist, I find these allegations to be troubling and unwarranted. The point of this paper is to take steps to rebut them. I begin by making four conceptual points about retributivism. If I am correct, retributivism comes in countless flavors, and the particular variety to which I am most attracted can be applied to show why some punishments should be less severe than those presently imposed. Next I argue that many persons deserve less punishment than our legal system currently inflicts. Reflection about whether perpetrators should be afforded a complete or partial defense reveals retributivism to be less punitive than conventional wisdom would suggest.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-021-09422-w
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References found in this work BETA

Why Punish the Deserving?Douglas N. Husak - 1992 - Noûs 26 (4):447-464.
“Already Punished Enough”.Douglas N. Husak - 1990 - Philosophical Topics 18 (1):79-99.
Already Punished Enough.Douglas N. Husak - 1990 - Philosophical Topics 18 (1):79-99.
Smooth and Bumpy Laws.Adam Kolber - 2014 - California Law Review 102:655-690.

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