Unformatted text preview: individual is properly punished. Harm matters but the quality of an act is more important. Acts intended to do harm often do so. Perhaps the most basic question about the criminal justice system is: why should it exist? If dangerousness can accurately be predicted, why punish people? Why not instead confine individuals based on accurate forecasts of the likelihood that they’ll harm others—and confine them without the condemnatory denunciations that precede punishment? Consider this question in light of two different scenarios. In the first, a prediction that A will engage in a violent assault on others during the next 30 is 95% accurate. In the second, a prediction along the same lines is 30% accurate. Do you endorse preventive confinement in either instance? In both? Why? Does it matter what kind of harm might occur? For example, would you insist on a lower rate of predictive accuracy for a terrorist attack than for an act of theft? Why?...
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- Fall '08