What I mean is that no one deserves punishment. Each time someone is imprisoned or punished in different ways, it is not a win, but always a loss. In particular, lack of technology. In particular, lack of common sense.

That does not mean we must (I use "must" in practical sense and "should" in theoretical sense, where we are not constrained by conditions) never, say, imprison people. What I mean is that it should never seem a good solution. To me, in the cases where all alternatives are even worse, this solution is "bad, but the best". No one should enjoy someone's imprisonment. And no one should treat others, whatever they did, as scum.

Is there anyone (among people recognized in philosophy) who held/holds this or similar position?

  • I've seen that viewpoint in two contexts. It comes up in some mysticism. It also comes up in some speculative fiction works in which evil is treated as some sort of disease and cured. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:29
  • @rus9384. You are right. I've deleted the comment because it didn't quite convey what I wanted. +1 for the question btw.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 17:38
  • 1
    Serial killers. It is generally good to lock them up. Interesting question, but I fear any serious thinker would have to somehow accommodate the "greater good".
    – christo183
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 9:43
  • @christo It's better to lock them than to allow them kill anyone freely. Both choices are bad, but I can't say that locking them is the best solution. Probably, there can be better alternatives.
    – rus9384
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 10:50
  • Of course, with imprisonment there is the administration, the feeding, medical care... I guess this is why in days gone bye they used to banish people. Just pointing out a moral philosophy would usually consider some sort of balance of individual rights against group rights.
    – christo183
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


Jesus taught people to help their neighbors ( Mark 12:33 ), to support their enemies ( Matthew 5:44 ), and to come to visit prisoners ( Matthew 25:36 ).

Jesus believed that people need help ( Matthew 9:36 ), not condemnation ( John 3:17 ). In a religious environment that excluded people because of their race ( Mark 7:24-30 ), Jesus invited people to himself on no conditions whatsoever ( Matthew 11:28 ).


With a short term research, there were no recognised philosophers who share the ideology you share here.

Considering your question imprisonment, punishment and all similar actions are based on our self defined images of "good" and "evil" while you may argue nothing is good and nothing is evil, or that there are good and evil things, it all comes down to the one who observes it to decide for themselves is it good or is it evil.

No one does enjoy imprisonment, imprisonment is meant as a way of teaching someone that doing something we define as "evil" is bad, imprisonment and punishment are not naturally necessary, but they are ways of enforcing the "rules" of "good" and "evil", if there wasn't one of the two, the other would not exist either, they are a necessary pair, you get both or neither.

  • Do you suggest that only non-philosophers held this position? Or not even them? What is omnibenevolence then?
    – rus9384
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 12:47
  • What I am suggesting that I found no names which directly say imprisonment and punishing is bad, I did find a lot of references to the matter of good and evil
    – Veraen
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 12:49

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