, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1095–1110 | Cite as

Criminal Quarantine and the Burden of Proof

  • Michael Louis CorradoEmail author


In the recent literature a number of free will skeptics, skeptics who believe (as I do) that punishment is justified only if deserved, have argued for these two points: first, that the free will realist who would justify punishment has the burden of establishing to a high level of certainty - perhaps beyond a reasonable doubt, but certainly at least by clear and convincing evidence - that any person to be punished acted freely in breaking the law; and, second, that that level of evidence is simply not there. In this paper I make two parallel points against a quarantine theory of criminal justice. First, the free will skeptic who would justify universal criminal quarantine is also faced with a burden of proof, the burden to establish to a similarly high level that no human being ever acts freely. Second, there is not sufficient evidence for that conclusion either. I believe that the quandary that this creates for criminal justice can be resolved by distinguishing the methods associated with a particular approach from the approach itself: if our choice is between the methods of punishment and the methods of quarantine, the methods that constitute punishment are, I would argue, morally preferable to those that constitute quarantine.


Criminal quarantine Punishment Retribution Free will skepticism Free will realism Burden of proof 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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