2011 Abstracts Stage 2

Prison and Punishment in Scandinavia, UK and America: Kantian Retribution versus Utilitarianism

Annelise Hardy, 2011, Stage 2

• Kant’s theory of punishment is based on desert and not about consequences. It insists on retribution. (Kant, Groundwork)
• Utilitarianism appeals to consequences, hence reparation programmes and deterrence. Yet if a severe crime creates greater consequences then it should be carried out regardless of desert. (Mill, Utilitarianism)

• America demonstrates a penal system of harsh retributive punishment and also harsh utilitarian forms of punishment. (Death penalty, 3 strikes)
• Scandinavia utilitarian in its aims of reparation and prevention
• UK show like America a combination yet is more focussed on probation programmes than America.

Project Aims 
– To outline the differences in penal systems in Scandinavia, UK and America 
– To demonstrate the effectiveness of various forms of punishment. 
– To demonstrate how these countries’ penal systems reflect Kantian retribution and utilitarianism 
– To critically compare these approaches

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