Joshua Dressler


This lecture was delivered at the University of Akron School of Law on April 1, 2004...Today I want to talk about criminal sentencing and its connection, or I fear lack of connection, to basic principles of punishment that are supposed to make our system rational and morally just. Let’s keep in mind that, everyday, in courts all over the country, judges are sentencing persons to prison. They are doing that in our name. Punishment— sentencing people to prison—involves intentionally inflicting pain on persons by denying them liberty, which we all value, and separating them from their community. Certainly, we need to care about why we do this, to be sure there are justifications for treating people this way.

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