Limiting Retributivism and Other Hybrid Theories

Richard S. Frase

in Just Sentencing

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199757862
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979547 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy

Limiting Retributivism and Other Hybrid Theories

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Punishments require clear and convincing justification—by definition, they impose unpleasant and usually harmful consequences on offenders, and they also consume scarce public resources. Moreover, purposes of punishment often conflict in particular cases. Hybrid (or “mixed”) punishment theories seek to reconcile these conflicts while recognizing multiple punishment justifications. This chapter summarizes and critiques hybrid theories proposed by other writers, as well as nonhybrid theories (pure retributivism or utilitarianism). Particular attention is given to the more developed hybrid models proposed by Norval Morris, Paul Robinson, and Andrew von Hirsch. The chapter concludes that limiting retributivism—with the modifications and additions embodied in this book’s proposed model—is superior to other hybrid and nonhybrid models, all of which have major flaws both in theory and in practice. But there is a substantial degree of consensus on many points, and most of the proposed model’s sentencing principles have been endorsed by previous writers.

Keywords: Andrew von Hirsch; hybrid punishment theories; limiting retributivism; mixed punishment theories; Norval Morris; Paul Robinson; purposes of punishment; retributivism; sentencing principles; utilitarianism

Chapter.  17690 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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