If punishment is an act designed to reprimand a criminal for his criminal actions, the use of force is a legitimate tool to enforce it.
The question I have however is how would punishments be enforced in a libertarian society?
I have recently read a Rothbard article where he theorized that in a libertarian society, there would be much less prisons. Instead, a judge would force a criminal to financially pay his of her victim(s) back. If something like a Ponzi scheme were to happen and the criminal didn't have enough to pay back all his victims, Rothbard says that he could work for a victim as an indentured servant (even though I don't see how you can be the indentured servant of many victims).
The issue toughens in the case of murder, or rape. If a murderer is convicted, I don't see a lot of people accepting a murderer as a personal slave. Personally, I would be scared to have someone wh has killed my wife within my house.
One solution I found was a private prison system. A private judicial company could either provide prisons for free, or you may have to pay a certain fee based on the desired stay of the prisoner. I believe this is workable. But then, why are there so many libertarians simply opposing prisons, calling them creatures of the State?
Privatized jail (very expensive so not likely), or restitution (a debt, or loan of money).
Just enough to settle the matter.
“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence.""The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”