Retributivism Has a Past: Has It a Future?

ISBN : 9780199798278

Michael Tonry
304 Pages
163 x 242 mm
Pub date
Jan 2012
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The fundamental contrast between the ideas that punishment is morally justified because people have behaved wrongly (retributivist) and that punishment is morally justified only when it has good consequences (consequentialist/utilitarian) has long existed and most likely always will. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, retributivist ways of thinking became much more influential than they had been for the preceding century, but it is clear now that no paradigm shift from consequentialist to retributivist ideas occurred, and that thinking about punishment is in a period of flux. Retributivism Has a Past: Has It a Future? reconsiders the extent of its resurgence and its current prospects. Essays by major figures in punishment theory, law, and philosophy and many prominent younger contributors to these debates engage with contemporary ideas about restorative justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, rehabilitation of offenders, and mandatory punishments that are difficult to reconcile with retributive analytical frameworks. It is crucial to understand why and when individuals can be deprived of their property, their liberty, and their lives in the pursuit of collective interests, and this book grapples anew with contemporary debates over these perennial questions.


One: Can Twenty-first Century Punishment Policies be Justified in Principle?
Michael Tonry, University of Minnesota
Two: What Does Wrongdoing Deserve?
John Kleinig, CUNY
Three: Is Twenty-first Century Punishment Post-Desert?
Matt Matravers, York University
Four: Responsibility, Restoration, and Retribution
R. A. Duff, University of Minnesota
Five: Punishment and Desert-adjusted Utilitarianism
Jesper Ryberg, Roskilde University, Copenhagen
Six: The Future of State Punishment: The Role of Public Opinion in Sentencing
Julian V. Roberts, Oxford University
Seven: A Political Theory of Imprisonment for Public Protection
Peter Ramsay, London School of Economics
Eight: Terror as a Theory of Punishment
Alice Ristroph, Seton Hall University
Nine: Can Above-desert Penalties Be Justified by Competing Deontological Theories?
Richard S. Frase, University of Minnesota
Ten: Never Mind the Pain
It's a Measure! Justifying Measures as Part of the Dutch Bifurcated System of Sanctions
Jan de Keijser, University of Leiden
Eleven: Retributivism, Proportionality, and the Challenge of the Drug Court Movement
Douglas Husak, Rutgers University
Twelve: Drug Treatment Courts as Communicative Punishment
Michael M. O'Hear, Marquette University
Thirteen: Reflections on Punishment Futures: The Desert-Model Debate and the Importance of the Criminal Law Context
Andreas von Hirsch, Cambridge University

About the author: 

Michael Tonry is Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of Minnesota Law School, and Senior Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Free University Amsterdam.

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