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The Rights Forfeiture Theory of Punishment

Christopher Heath Wellman
Ethics
Vol. 122, No. 2 (January 2012), pp. 371-393
DOI: 10.1086/663791
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/663791
Page Count: 23
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The Rights Forfeiture Theory of Punishment
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Abstract

Punishment is notoriously difficult to justify because it involves visiting hard treatment upon those who are punished. The rights forfeiture theory of punishment contends that punishment is justified when and because the criminal has forfeited her right not to be subjected to this hard treatment. Because of a number of apparently devastating objections, this account has very few advocates. In this essay I aim to rehabilitate the rights forfeiture account by offering responses to the standard criticisms.

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