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Abstract

Mixed theories of legal punishment treat both crime reduction and retributive concerns as irreducibly important and so worthy of inclusion in a single justificatory framework. Yet crime reduction and retributive approaches employ different assumptions about the necessary characteristics of those liable to punishment. Retributive accounts of legal punishment require offenders to be more responsive to moral considerations than do crime reduction accounts. The tensions these different assumptions create are explored in the mixed theories of John Rawls, H. L. A. Hart, and Andrew von Hirsch. It is argued that none of these theories successfully resolve the tensions. The prospects for resolving them are then discussed.