Plato's Penal Code: Tradition, Controversy, and Reform in Greek Penology


This book assesses Plato's penal code within the tradition of Greek penology. Saunders provides a detailed exposition of the emergence of the concept of publicly controlled, rationally calculated, and socially directed punishment in the period between Homer and Plato. He outlines the serious debate that ensued in the fifth century over the opposition by philosophers to popular judicial assumptions, and shows how the philosophical arguments gradually gained ground. He demonstrates that Plato advanced the most radical of the philosophical formulations of the concept of punishment in his Laws, arguing that punishment is or should be utilitarian and strictly reformative. This first comprehensive and detailed study of Plato's penology gives deserved attention to the works of a most important political and legal thinker.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1994


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