Some would argue that it’s excessively cruel to torture criminals. But both prison and torture impose costs on criminals. Why is one type of cost crueler than the other? If a convicted criminal is indifferent between receiving a certain type of torture or being imprisoned for a given period of time then why would it be excessively cruel to torture but not to imprison?
In the U.S. many prisoners face a significant chance of being raped by a fellow inmate. This high chance doesn’t seem to bother many people, and is often the subject of jokes. Yet our society considers it barbaric for a criminal justice system to deliberately torture criminals in ways that may well impose less physical and emotional costs than rape does. I find these conflicting moral views about torture and imprisonment to be irrational.