Source: (2005) Criminology. 43(2):283-306.The ideal of punishment proportionate to wrongdoing creates a criminal justice system that deters prevention. An alternative ideal is that crime should always be confronted with a presumption for mercy that is conditional upon participation in a truth-seeking process that identifies paths to prevention. Informally rewarding reconciliation and prevention is the basis of a more compelling rational choice account of crime control than proportionate formal punishment. A rational and emotionally intelligent criminal justice system might look something like the airline safety system. Author's abstract.