Oddness aside, however, I think there is much to recommend the attempt to restore rehabilitation to a central place in the practice of punishment. Nor do I think that rehabilitation must displace retribution in that practice. Properly understood, the two aims are not only compatible but also complementary. If we are to understand them properly, though, we shall need to see them as components of a theory of punishment that is grounded in considerations of fair play. Such a theory also has the advantage of offering guidance with regard to other controversial matters of penal policy, such as the question of whether prisoners should have the right to vote, or whether recidivists should receive harsher sentences than first-time offenders, or whether prisons should be operated privately or publicly.

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2012

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. This article first appeared in RSA Journal (2012), 16-19.

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