Dealing with Criminal Behavior: the Inaccuracy of the Quarantine Analogy
Pereboom and Caruso propose the quarantine model as an alternative to existing models of criminal justice. They appeal to the established public health practice of quarantining people, which is believed to be effective and morally justified, to explain why -in criminal justice- it is also morally acceptable to detain wrongdoers, without assuming the existence of a retrospective moral responsibility. Wrongdoers in their model are treated as carriers of dangerous diseases and as such should be preventively detained (or rehabilitated) until they no longer pose a threat to society. Our main concern in this paper is that Pereboom and Caruso adopt an idiosyncratic meaning of quarantine regulations. We highlight a set of important disanalogies between their quarantine model and the quarantine regulations currently adopted in public health policies. More specifically, we argue that the similarities that Pereboom and Caruso propose to substantiate their analogy are not consistent—despite what they claim—with the regulations underlying quarantine as an epidemiological process. We also notice that certain quarantine procedures adopted in public health systems are inadequate to deal with criminal behaviors. On these grounds, we conclude that Pereboom and Caruso should not appeal to the quarantine analogy to substantiate their view, unless they address the issues and criticism we raise in this paper.