Jean Elizabeth Hampton

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Jean Elizabeth Hampton (June 1, 1954 – April 2, 1996) was an American political philosopher, author of Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition, Political Philosophy, The Authority of Reason, The Intrinsic Worth of Persons and, with Jeffrie G Murphy, Forgiveness and Mercy.


She subscribed[1] to the "moral education" theory of punishment, where the goal is to first educate the criminal and then secondly educate society about the morally wrong action that has been done by the criminal. This theory does not condone 'pain' inflicted punishment, nor does it believe that incarceration is always the answer. The theory states that all criminals, even if they have wronged society, are still due the autonomous rights guaranteed them by the state, and it is the state's duty to uphold the moral education of the criminal the best way that it can.

She later supported the expressive theory of retribution (see her article "An Expressive Theory of Retribution" from Retributivism and Its Critics, ed. Wesley Cragg. Franz Steiner, 1992).

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  1. ^ For a statement of her theory of punishment, see Hampton, J, The Moral Education Theory of Punishment, in Simmons et al., eds., Punishment, 1995, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ., ISBN 0-691-02955-5, pp. 112-142

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