Ole Martin Moen


Most of us think that states are justified in incarcerating criminals, sometimes for decades. In this paper I suggest that if states are justified in this, they are also justified in inflicting certain forms of corporal punishment. Many forms of corporal punishment are less burdensome than long-term incarceration, and arguably, they are also cheaper, fairer, more deterring, and less destructive of the social and economic networks that convicts often depend on for future reintegration into society. After presenting a pro tanto case for corporal punishment, I consider a number of objections. I conclude that although there are genuine downsides to corporal punishment that must be taken very seriously, the case for the judicial use of this punishment method is much stronger than what is commonly assumed.