The punitive paradox: Desert and the compulsion to punish

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Proponents of 'just deserts' argue that as a condition of justice, offenders who deserve to be punished must actually be punished. This article explores whether there is a desert paradox in which carrying out a deserved penalty breaches the values that undergird the theory of just deserts. Thus the article examines whether it might ever be proper, from a desert perspective, to choose not to impose a deserved punishment. The idea that this might be true was first suggested to the author by Don Gottfredson.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-108
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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