We explore some possible interactions between enhancement technology and punishment, reflect on ethical issues that arise as a result, and consider what our justice system must do in order to ensure that it keeps pace with developments in technology.
Criminal justice systems currently employ a limited range of penal sanctions to punish offenders. The type and nature of the sanctions employed are, in large part, determined by the penal aims a particular system is designed to pursue. However, they are also shaped by beliefs about what people are typically like, and by the resources available to develop and deploy punishments. Technology - particularly human enhancement technology - could change both of these latter influences. It could facilitate more effective punishments, support existing punishments, undermine certain punishments, make certain punishments more severe than was originally intended, and alter the resources available for punishments and the constraints on types of punishment.