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Chapter 9 reexamines our main claims by studying the so-called division between prison and the outside world. Penal populism claims: “Lock-in the criminals and throw away the keys,” yet the harsh reality has proven that this separation is a fallacy. The vast majority of inmates re-enter society after a few years, and all inmates have links with the outside world, producing negative externalities from imprisonment. This chapter shows that the boundaries between prisons and the outside world are blurred, that prisons are an integral part of life for hundreds of thousands in Latin America and affect the millions of relatives and friends who live outside prisons. Thus, there are active networks and channels of communication and exchanges that defy the concept of prisons as isolation centers. The chapter looks at several topics such as the effect of prison on families and recidivism, and concludes that separating large numbers of young people from the outside world has not impacted crime levels on the streets.
This chapter defends the view that free will skeptics can endorse general deterrence as a justifiable aim of legal punishment. It does not claim that it is the justifiable aim, or the main aim, but rather that it is a justifiable aim among others. It takes as its target Derk Pereboom’s claim that general deterrence is not a justifiable aim of punishment since it suffers from the “use” objection, according to which general deterrence is wrong because it involves harming some, without their consent, in order to benefit others. The author responds by arguing that the use objection myopically focuses on only one aspect of a system of general deterrent punishment, and that, when we take full account of the complexity of this sort of punishment within a reasonably just legal system, we can see that it need not involve an impermissible kind of use. It further argues that Pereboom’s positive account of how to respond to crime is insufficient for good social policy. It concludes by offering a sketch of an account that combines the measures that Pereboom advocates with others designed to promote general deterrence.
The free will skeptic aims to articulate a theory for treatment of criminals that rejects retributivism, since this justification for punishment is inconsistent with the skeptic’s outlook, but nevertheless actually works in the real world. In past versions of such an account I’ve emphasized the quarantine analogy for incapacitation together with the value of rehabilitation and reintegration (Pereboom 2001, 2014), and I’ve endorsed Gregg Caruso’s embedding of the view within a public health model (Caruso 2016, 2017; Pereboom and Caruso 2018). Recently I’ve paid special attention to the permissibility and the limits of special and general deterrence (Pereboom 2017b, 2019). Here I set out this view and develop it in certain key respects in response to the latest objections raised against it.
Radical liberalism and natural law theory ground a vigorous critique of the carceral state and of imprisonment in anything like its current form. But a natural law analysis can also serve as the basis of a negative assessment of current practices that does not depend on embracing this critique. Chapter 6 seeks to show why plausible theories of statist criminal justice, even if taken to justify not only imprisonment but also the use of victim testimony to help determine prisoners’ initial terms of confinement, likely do not warrant the use of this kind of testimony in assessing parole requests.
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