Source: (2005) In Erik Claes, René Foqué, and Tony Peters, eds., Punishment, Restorative Justice and the Morality of Law. Antwerp; Oxford: Intersentia. Pp. 57-68.

The structure of this paper will be as follows. In a first paragraph I will outline three challenges which need be taken into account by any penal theory which aims to be “critical”: the challenge of punishment, the challenge of context/viability, and the challenge of victims. In the second paragraph I enter into discussion with Claes and aim to asses to what extent his thinking on legality and punishment, as it stands at this moment, is able to formulate an answer to these challenges. Throughout my discussion I try to remain sensitive to the “public” side of the problem because there is a tendency in Claes’ paper to treat the question of punishment and human dignity predominantly in terms of “private troubles.” (excerpt)