The Abolition of Punishment: Is a Non-Punitive Criminal Justice System Ethically Justified?

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Przemysław Zawadzki


Punishment involves the intentional infliction of harm and suffering. Both of the most prominent families of justifications of punishment – retributivism and consequentialism – face several moral concerns that are hard to overcome. Moreover, the effectiveness of current criminal punishment methods in ensuring society’s safety is seriously undermined by empirical research. Thus, it appears to be a moral imperative for a modern and humane society to seek alternative means of administering justice. The special issue of Diametros “The Abolition of Punishment: Is a Non-Punitive Criminal Justice System Ethically Justified?” was brought into life precisely to give the authors a platform for such progressive inquiries. And it is now safe to say that this platform has been put to excellent use, since Valerij Zisman, Alexander Stachurski, Giorgia Brucato, Perica Jovchevski, Sofia M. I. Jeppsson, Stephen G. Morris, Benjamin Vilhauer, John Lemos, Saul Smilansky, Elizabeth Shaw, Mirko Farina, Andrea Lavazza and Sergei Levin have presented such thought-provoking texts that they are bound to set the stage for debate in the years to come. This article is an introduction to this special issue and to the authors’ papers.


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Zawadzki , Przemysław. 2024. “The Abolition of Punishment: Is a Non-Punitive Criminal Justice System Ethically Justified?”. Diametros 21 (79):1-9.
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Brucato G., Jovchevsky P. (2024), “A Fairness-Based Defense of Non-Punitive Responses to Crime,” Diametros 21 (79): 40–55.

Farina M., Lavazza A., Levin S. (2024), “Pushing the Boundaries of the Quarantine Model: Philosophical Concerns and Policy Implications,” Diametros 21 (79): 146–162.

Jeppsson S.M.I. (2024), “Retributivism and the Objective Attitude,” Diametros 21 (79): 56–73.

Lemos J. (2024), “Free Will Skepticism, Quarantine, and Corrections,” Diametros 21 (79): 107–118.

Morris S.G. (2024), “The Non-Moral Basis for Eliminating Retributivism,” Diametros 21 (79): 74–90.

Shaw E. (2024), “Expanding the Scope of the Epistemic Argument to Cover Nonpunitive Incapacitation,” Diametros 21 (79): 132–145.

Smilansky S. (2024), “Free Will Denialism as a Dangerous Gamble,” Diametros 21 (79): 119–131.

Stachursky A. (2024), “Justice Without Retribution? The Case of the System of Communal Security, Justice and Reeducation of Montaña and Costa Chica in Guerrero, Mexico,” Diametros 21 (79): 24–39.

Vilhauer B. (2024), “Free Will Denial, Punishment, and Original Position Deliberation,” Diametros 21 (79): 91–106.

Zisman V. (2024), “The Missing Alternative Objection to Criminal Law Abolitionism,” Diametros 21 (79): 10–23.