The Big Man: You do not pass judgement, because you sympathize with them. A deprived childhood and a homicide really isn't necessarily a homicide, right? The only thing you can blame is circumstances. Rapists and murderers may be the victims, according to you. But I, I call them dogs, and if they're lapping up their own vomit the only way to stop them is with the lash... Dogs can be taught many useful things, but not if we forgive them every time they obey their own nature.
Grace: So I'm arrogant. I'm arrogant because I forgive people?
BM: My God. Can't you see how condescending you are when you say that? You have this preconceived notion that nobody, listen, that nobody can't possibly attain the same high ethical standards as you, so you exonerate them. I can not think of anything more arrogant than that. You... you forgive others with excuses that you would never in the world permit for yourself... you must maintain your own standard. You owe them that. You owe them that. The penalty you deserve for your transgressions, they deserve for their transgressions.
Grace: They are human beings --
BM: No, no, no. Does every human being need to be accountable for their action? Of course they do. But you don't even give them that chance.
Of course, even a utilitarian can agree with the first point -- that people must be held accountable for rehabilitative purposes, to shape and improve their character. But what do you make of the second argument, that respect requires us to hold others to the same high standards we would apply to ourselves?
As Strawson famously noted, to suspend the reactive attitudes altogether would be to no longer treat the other as a (moral/rational) agent at all:
To adopt the objective attitude to another human being is to see him, perhaps, as an object of social policy; as a subject for what, in a wide range of sense, might be called treatment; as something certainly to be taken account, perhaps precautionary account, of; to be managed or handled or cured or trained; perhaps simply to be avoided... But it cannot include the range of reactive feelings and attitudes which belong to involvement or participation with others in inter-personal human relationships; it cannot include resentment, gratitude, forgiveness, anger, or the sort of love which two adults can sometimes be said to feel reciprocally, for each other. If your attitude towards someone is wholly objective, then though you may fight him, you cannot quarrel with him, and though you may talk to him, even negotiate with him, you cannot reason with him. You can at most pretend to quarrel, or to reason, with him.
I'm tempted by the thought that there's not much worse for a person than to have their agency denied, to be stripped of one's dignity or "recognitional respect" as a reasonable person. (On the other hand, the criminal facing punishment probably doesn't appreciate the respect we thereby show him.) What do you think?