Can punishments ever meaningfully be proportioned in severity to the seriousness of the crimes for which they are imposed? A great deal of attention has been paid to the general justification of punishment, but the thorny practical questions have received significantly less. Serious analysis has seldom delved into what makes crimes more or less serious, what makes punishments more or less severe, and how links are to be made between them.
In Of One-eyed and Toothless Miscreants, Michael Tonry has gathered together a distinguished cast of contributors to offer among the first sustained efforts to specify with precision how proportionality can be understood in relation to the implementation of punishment. Each chapter examines scholarly and lay thinking about punishment of people convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on "making the punishment fit the crime." The contributors challenge the most prevalent current theories and emphasize the need for a shift away from the politicized emotionalism of recent decades. They argue that theories that coincided with mass incarceration and rampant injustice to countless individuals are evolving in ways that better countenance moving toward more humane and thoughtful approaches.
Written by many of the leading thinkers on punishment, this volume dissects previously undeveloped issues related to considerations of deserved punishment and provides new ways to understand both the severities of punishment and the seriousness of crime.
Michael Tonry is McKnight Presidential Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. He has published a number of books and articles in the US and Europe and taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Lausanne, and Minnesota.