First, Istvan misunderstands the purpose of the death penalty. If we just wanted to control people’s behavior, then we would just keep them locked up; the death penalty exists as the ultimate punishment, for those who have acted so far beyond the social contract that they can’t be forgiven. It’s not a practical matter, Pustilnik says—it’s an emotional one, one in which society seeks retribution. “The idea that a brain implant could control behavior misses the point. These are people we already control,” Pustilnik says. To Pustilnik, brain implants wouldn’t provide a viable alternative to the death penalty and certainly wouldn’t satisfy its supporters.