From prisons and youth correctional facilities to schools and county jails, we’re surrounded by institutions that punish. But why do we punish? Why is punishment sometimes sanctioned by the state? Critics of the “prison industrial complex” argue that our methods and scale of punishment are informed by profit, while tough-on-crime policymakers believe that punishment must be meaningful enough to prevent recidivism and ensure public safety.
Are there other ways to punish—such as restorative justice—that may be more effective, reasonable, or desirable? Philosopher and writer Monica Mueller facilitates a conversation around these questions and others regarding our motivation, purpose, and methods of punishment.