Case Against Punishment Retribution, Crime Prevention, and the Law

ISBN-10: 0814731848
ISBN-13: 9780814731840
Edition: 2005
Authors: Deirdre Golash
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Description: A work of sweeping vision and profound insight. --Robert Johnson, author of Hard Time: Understanding and Reforming the Prison"A book that can spur good discussion and stimulate critical thinking." --Law and Politics Book Review"Philosophers of law  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 10/1/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 219
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

A work of sweeping vision and profound insight. --Robert Johnson, author of Hard Time: Understanding and Reforming the Prison"A book that can spur good discussion and stimulate critical thinking." --Law and Politics Book Review"Philosophers of law too often assume that criminal punishment is of course justified and then argue over exactly what is the best justification for the practice--utilitarian deterrence, retribution, moral education, etc. It is important that this shared assumption be challenged and that serious consideration be given to the possibility that criminal punishment may not be justified at all. Although Professor Golash has by no means persuaded me that all criminal punishment should be totally abolished, her book is to be welcomed as an attempt to provoke serious reflection on this basic issue." --Jeffrie G. Murphy, Regents' Professor of Law, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, Arizona State UniversityWhat ends do we expect and hope to serve in punishing criminal wrongdoers? Does the punishment of offenders do more harm than good for American society? In The Case against Punishment, Deirdre Golash addresses these and other questions about the value of punishment in contemporary society.Drawing on both empirical evidence and philosophical literature, this book argues that the harm done by punishing criminal offenders is ultimately morally unjustified. Asserting that punishment inflicts both intended and unintended harms on offenders, Golash suggests that crime can be reduced by addressing social problems correlated with high crime rates, such as income inequality and local social disorganization. Punishment may reduce crime, but in so doing, causes a comparable amount of harm to offenders. Instead, Golash suggests, we should address criminal acts through trial, conviction, and compensation to the victim, while also providing the criminal with the opportunity to reconcile with society through morally good action rather than punishment.

Deirdre Golash is associate professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, DC.

An institution in search of moral grounding
Does punishment do more good than harm?
Preserving the moral order
Retribution and social choice
Punishment as self-defense
Punishment as communication
Is punishment justified?
What if punishment is not justified?

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