Retributive parsimony

Res Publica 15 (4):377-395 (2009)
Retributive approaches to the justification of legal punishment are often thought to place exacting and unattractive demands on state officials, requiring them to expend scarce public resources on apprehending and punishing all offenders strictly in accordance with their criminal ill deserts. Against this caricature of the theory, I argue that retributivists can urge parsimony in the use of punishment. After clarifying what parsimony consists in, I show how retributivists can urge reductions in the use of punishment in order to conserve scarce resources for other valuable social purposes, minimize the foreseeable and adverse effects of legal punishment on the innocent, and accommodate the fact that existing societies fail in numerous ways to satisfy the conditions that make retributive punishment fully justified.
Keywords Legal punishment  Retributivism  Parsimony  Sentencing
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-009-9101-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,527
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Desert.George Sher - 1989 - Princeton University Press.
Persons and Punishment.Herbert Morris - 1968 - The Monist 52 (4):475-501.
Trials and Punishments.John Cottingham & R. A. Duff - 1987 - Philosophical Quarterly 37 (149):448.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Retributivism and Resources.Jesper Ryberg - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (1):66-79.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Punishing the Guilty, Not Punishing the Innocent.Richard Lippke - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (4):462-488.
The Rise and Fall of the Mixed Theory of Punishment.Whitley Kaufman - 2008 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):37-57.
Punishment: Consequentialism.David Wood - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (6):455-469.
Making Sense of Retributivism.J. Angelo Corlett - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (1):77-110.
A Retributive Argument Against Punishment.Greg Roebuck & David Wood - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (1):73-86.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
35 ( #180,556 of 2,287,554 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #392,409 of 2,287,554 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature