A Hesitant Defense of the Not-Quite-as-Bad Old Days
In previous articles in this space, I have argued that American prisons lack a clearly defined mission. They are caught between correctionalism and retributivism. They are not supported by any coherent philosophy of punishment. This makes them particularly susceptible to influence by those individuals within the criminal justice system who do have a philosophy, of any sort. For the most part, their philosophy, over the past thirty years, has been clear and straightforward: prisons are the site of warranted retribution against people guilty of moral transgression.