A New Criminal Response Framework: Rejecting the “Four Horsemen of the Carceral State”

Volume 99

George Glass

In their first year of law school, students are introduced to four theories that attempt to justify punishing people who commit crimes—retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. These “four horsemen of the carceral state” have led to the ballooning mass incarceration our country faces today. However, these four justifications are not written in stone. In fact, evidence suggests that each of the four justifications fails to effectively address criminal activity. This Note explores the current state of criminal legal education, addresses the shortcomings of each of the four justifications, and proposes a new criminal response framework that builds off the old justifications and incorporates prison abolition concepts. That new framework is built on non-punishment, retributive punishment, preventive justice, and holistic rehabilitation.

Full article available here.