Chapter One. Two Models of Criminal Justice
13 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2016 Last revised: 20 May 2016
Date Written: March 31, 2016
Skepticism about moral responsibility has moved to the center of the debate about free will and responsibility, aided perhaps by recent work in neuroscience, and the number of important philosophers who consider themselves skeptics appears to be growing. The problem is that skepticism about responsibility, a skepticism that calls retribution and desert – the Retributive Model of criminal justice – into question as well, seems to leave us only utilitarian alternatives in criminal justice. But the utilitarian answers here are unsatisfactory. Deterrence without (non-utilitarian) side constraints is an easy target for counter-examples, and that has led many skeptics to the conclusion that the only justifiable approach to criminal justice is the therapeutic approach – the Quarantine Model. But a world without something very much like punishment, a world in which the approach to crime is to cure or to incapacitate, seems unacceptable, treating human beings (in the words of David Hodgson) “as vehicles for treatment to be manipulated for the general good.” The problem for the skeptic is to find a way out of this dilemma. My object is to isolate the desirable elements of punishment and incorporate them into an alternative institution focused in part on benefit to the offender. I call that institution “Correction.”
Keywords: Retribution, quarantine, free will skepticism, moral responsibility, correction.
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