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Jurisprudence Commons

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Legal Studies

2016

Deterrence-based punishment

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Kant’S Categorical Imperative And Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Craig Turner Jan 2016

Kant’S Categorical Imperative And Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Craig Turner

Washington University Jurisprudence Review

Deterrence-based punishment systems are scattered throughout history, and exist in the American legal system today. One such method of deterrence prescribes mandatory punishments for violations of certain crimes, without regarding to underlying circumstances or an assessment of the the individual accused of such crimes. These types of sentencing requirements restrict judicial discretion and are designed to serve as an example for other would-be offenders. While perhaps justifiable under a utilitarian code of ethics, mandatory minimums are morally suspect when assessed through the lens Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative.

The fundamental premise of the second formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative ...