Kleinig’s “The Hardness of Hard Treatment” on the Treatment of Prisoners


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Essay #: 065496
Total text length is 7,943 characters (approximately 5.5 pages).

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Kleinig's "The Hardness of Hard Treatment” on the Treatment of Prisoners
In “The Hardness of Hard Treatment,” Kleinig (2006) does not take a monolithic position on how hard hard treatment ought to be. Rather, he argues that some proposals designed to render prison life more punitive as “obvious and inherently reasonable” (p. 274) whereas others “are blatantly politico-economic” (p. 274). Instead of presenting a simplistic prescription, Kleinig presents a philosophical framework for theorizing and bounding punishment and hard treatment. The heart of this framework is Kleinig’s claim that “The severity of punishment...should be proportionate to the wrong-doing that has justified punishment in the first place” (p. 276).
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.....states, with their lenient sentences, wide access to amenities, and so-called country club atmosphere. While such prisons may enrage the conservative personality, they lower recidivism, which in many states in the U.S. is close to 50 percent (Vermont 2008). In this sense, I find Kleinig committed to a sort of Old Testament mentality in which redressing wrongs is more important than changing the structure of society so that future wrongs are rendered less likely.
Hobbes, T. (1904). Leviathan. London: University Press.
Kleinig, J. (2006). The hardness of hard treatment. Course reader.
Vermont. (2005). Justice reinvestment state brief. Retrieved December 19, 2010 from http://www.justicereinvestment.org/files/Vermont_State_Brief.pdf.