German and French prison rules require prisoners to be addressed respectfully as "Herr So-and-So" or "Monsieur So-and-So." Prisoners also receive good health care and even paid vacations. Why are such practices not only nearly nonexistent in the United States, but nearly inconceivable? Why are prisoners punished much more harshly in the U.S. than in Europe? James Q. Whitman, professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale University, devotes himself to answering such questions.
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