Source: (2002) Buffalo Criminal Law Review. 5(2)

Philip Pettit claims that contemporary democracies organize criminal justice in ways that answer to no particular rationale or mix of rationales – to no ideal as to what criminal justice should be trying to achieve. Indeed, the organization of criminal justice is resistant to the effect of reasoned deliberation and discussion about the nature of the good society and the good polity. Pettit explores the reasons for this situation, and asks what, if anything, might reduce the resistance of criminal justice systems to the effects of systematic, reasoned discussion. Toward these ends, he describes the model of the “outrage dynamicâ€? for policy-making (that is, the exposure of some evil, outrage at it, and reaction to that evil); shows the importance of this dynamic for criminal sentencing policy; and proposes an institutional arrangement that could make it politically feasible to shape the penal system by reasoned debate.

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