Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (1):45-57 (2018)

Abstract
The increase in incarceration of offenders in the United States over the last 40 years has created a system of mass incarceration or mass punishment. While consequentialist theories of punishment may generate considerable doubts about the value of this system, it seems that retributive theories of punishment lack the resources to criticize mass punishment. Because of their focus on individual desert, it seems that they can say nothing about punishment in the aggregate. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for a certain kind of retributivism to question the justice of mass punishment. When retributive punishment is considered as one of the functions of a state whose task is to create and maintain a system of equal freedom for all, then punishment must be justified not only at the individual level but also at the level of the system of punishment as a whole. If the criminal justice system inflicts excessive amounts of punishment in the aggregate, it becomes unjust, not because individual offenders are treated unjustly, but because a policy of relentless prosecution and punishment is not appropriate for a free society.
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-016-9409-2
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Mass Incarceration and the Theory of Punishment.Vincent Chiao - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (3):431-452.
What is the Criminal Law For?Vincent Chiao - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (2):137-163.

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