Kant's Perspective on Crime, Punishment, and Justice Essay
Kant's Perspective on Crime, Punishment, and Justice Essay; ..
There are some equally familiar consequentialist responses to thisfamiliar objection. One is to argue that such‘unjust’punishments be justified if theywould really produce the best consequences (see e.g., Smart 1973:69–72; Bagaric and Amarasekara 2000) — to which the criticwill reply that we cannot thus put aside the moral significance ofinjustice. Another is to argue that in the real world it is extremelyunlikely that such punishments would ever be for the best, and evenless likely that the agents involved could be trusted reliably to pickout those rare cases in which they would be: thus we, and especiallyour penal officials, will do best if we think and act as if suchpunishments are intrinsically wrong and unjustifiable (see e.g., Rawls1955; Hare 1981, chs. 3, 9.7) — to which the critic will respondthat this still makes the wrongness of punishing a known innocentcontingent on its effects, and fails to recognise the intrinsic wrongthat such punishment does (see e.g., Duff 1986: 151–64;Primoratz 1999, chs. 3.3, 6.5). Another response is to argue that aricher or subtler account of the ends that the criminal law shouldserve will generate suitable protection against unjust punishments(see Braithwaite and Pettit 1990, especially 71–76, on‘dominion’ as the end of criminal law); but the objectionremains that any purely consequentialist account will make theprotection of the innocent against injustice contingent on itsinstrumental contribution to the system’s aims (on Braithwaiteand Pettit, see von Hirsch and Ashworth 1992; Duff 1996: 20–25;Pettit 1997).
Justice law and punishment essay for students
The central meaning and purpose of punishment, on such accounts, is tocommunicate to offenders the censure or condemnation that they deservefor their crimes. Once we recognise, as we should, that punishment canserve this communicative purpose, we can see how such accounts beginto answer the two questions that retributivists face. First, there isan obviously intelligible justificatory relationship betweenwrongdoing and censure — as a response which is intended toimpose a burden (the burden of condemnation by one’s fellows) onan offender for his offence: whatever puzzles there might be aboutother attempts to explain the idea of penal desert, the idea thatwrongdoers deserve to suffer censure is surely unpuzzling. Second, itis appropriate for the state to ensure that such censure is formallyadministered through the criminal justice system: if crimes are publicwrongs, breaches of the political community’s authoritativecode, then they merit public censure by the community. Furthermore,although internal to censure is the intention, or hope, that theperson censured will accept the censure as justified and will thus bemotivated to avoid crime in future, this kind of account can avoid thecharge (as brought against consequentialist theories) that it seeks tocoerce or manipulate offenders into obeying the law. For censureaddresses, and respects, the person censured as a rational andresponsible agent: it constitutes an appropriate, deserved response tothe wrong that she did, and seeks to bring her to modify her futureconduct only by reminding her of the good moral reasons that she hasfor refraining from crime; it is an appropriate way for citizens totreat and respond to each other. (For different kinds of communicativeaccount, see especially von Hirsch 1993, ch.2; Duff 2001, chs. 1.4.4,3.2; Bennett 2008; Markel 2011, 2012. For critical discussion, seeDavis 1991; Boonin 2008: 171–80; Hanna 2008; Matravers 2011).