The Future of Imprisonment: Toward a Punitive Philosophy

Proper use of imprisonment as a penal sanction is of primary philosophical and practical importance to the future of society. With the increasing vulnerability of our social organization and the growing complexity and interdependence of governmental structures, reassessment of appropriate limits on the power that society should exercise over its members becomes increasingly important. Perhaps if the “prison problem” is solved, many of the uneasy tensions between freedom and power in postindustrial society will diminish. The effort made here will, I hope, contribute to the solution of the “prison problem” by offering a new model of imprisonment that recognizes fundamental principles of justice as well as the legitimate exercise of society’s power over the individual.