Kinds of Punishment

13 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2017

See all articles by Douglas Husak

Douglas Husak

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: April 1, 2017


Contemporary states execute, imprison, fine, place on probation, conditionally discharge, caution, and do a great deal more to the persons they convict. What general principles govern how retributivists should choose between the foregoing responses to culpable wrongdoing - or select an altogether different type of sanction? If my subsequent reasoning is sound, it is easy to understand why retributivists have tended to neglect this issue. They have neglected it because they have little to contribute to its resolution. In what follows, I will support this conclusion and discuss a few of the somewhat controversial positions on which it rests. I hope to make some headway on this topic by defending what I call the deferential view about kinds of punishment (or deferential view for short).

Keywords: punishmen, retributivism, imprisonment, desert, proportionality, consequentialism

Suggested Citation

Husak, Douglas N., Kinds of Punishment (April 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Douglas N. Husak (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy ( email )

106 Somerset Street, 5th Floor
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

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