Corporal Punishments and Optimal Incapacitation
This article extends Steven Shavell's analysis of optimal incapacitation to corporal punishment. Using the assumption that some crimes may involve an undeterrable organ only, I argue that, for these crimes, imprisonment cannot be optimal because it would indiscriminately incapacitate other productive organs. I further establish that the death sentence and other cruel corporate punishments can be abolished for good if advanced temporary incapacitative sanctions are available. I conclude that a reform of criminal punishment need not revert to bloody corporal punishment, build more jails, or lock up criminals for longer periods of time using potential victims' money. Instead, a reform can use temporary incapacitative measures that can target particular organs at fault. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.
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