How can philosophers contribute to the resolution of the current prison crisis in the United States, and what sorts of philosophical work should activists make use of in their efforts to address that crisis? This paper examines two periods of prison reform in the 20th century, to indicate the problematic role that traditional theories of the moral justification of punishment have had in the history of reform effects have played. I argue that moral theories of punishment are not the best vehicle for addressing the prison crisis; the approaches suggested by critical social theory are more promising.
Sturr, C. (2003), "PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT AND THE HISTORY OF PRISON REFORM", Sarat, A. and Ewick, P. (Ed.) Punishment, Politics and Culture (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 85-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1059-4337(03)30004-3
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