A Justification of the Moral Permissibility of Punishment
This paper addresses the philosophical question of whether the act of punishing those who commit criminal wrongdoings is morally permissible or not. In addressing this question, I explore various theories in order to demonstrate that to properly value the victim of a crime, it is necessary for the state to appropriately express disapproval of the action through censure. I also argue that the infliction of hard treatment onto the wrongdoer is necessary in order to appropriately convey the message that the victim has moral value. These features of a justification of the moral permissibility of punishment also serve to form a solution to the problem of punishment that David Boonin describes in his work, The Problem of Punishment. Through use of censure, value, and victim-centered approaches found in existing literature on punishment, as well as a unique view on the ability to value victims that are absent in a significant way, I attempt to form a view that successfully challenges the claim that it is not permissible to inflict punishment on those who commit wrongdoings.