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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 26, Issue 2, Fall 2012

Jesper Ryberg
Pages 231-244
DOI: 10.5840/ijap201226217

Punishment, Pharmacological Treatment, and Early Release

Recent studies have shown that pharmacological treatment may have an impact on aggressive and impulsive behavior. Assuming that these results are correct, would it be morally acceptable to instigate violent criminals to accept pharmacological rehabilitation by offering this treatment in return for early release from prison? This paper examines three different reasons for being skeptical with regard to this sort of practice. The first reason concerns the acceptability of the treatment itself. The second reason concerns the ethical legitimacy of making offers under coercive conditions. The third relates to the acceptability of the fact that those criminals who accepted the treatment would be exempted from the punishment they rightly deserved. It is argued that none of these reasons succeeds in rejecting this sort of offer.

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