Part of the Studies in Crime and Public Policy series, this book, written by one of the top philosophers of punishment, examines the main trends in penal theorizing over the past three decades. Duff asks what can justify criminal punishment, and then explores the legitimacy of actual practices by examining what would count as adequate justification for them. Duff argues that a "communicative conception of punishment," which he presents as a third way between consequentialist and retributive theories, offers the most fruitful way of understanding punishment's meaning and justification. Duff addresses such questions as how much sentences should be constrained by proportionality requirements; what modalities of punishment best communicate their intended meaning; and what decisionmaking procedures he envisions. This book will appeal to criminologists, philosophers, and others interested in theories of punishment.