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A Neo-Retributionist Concurs with Professor Nolan

Hoffman, Morris B
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) American Criminal Law Review. 40: 1567-1571.

James L. Nolan, a professor of sociology, has written critically of the theory and practice of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement (e.g., drug courts). In this paper Morris B. Hoffman, a district court judge in Colorado, concurs with much of Nolan’s analysis, particularly with criticism of the movement’s theoretical assumption that therapeutic outcomes in the law are necessarily a desired good. Hoffman says this central assumption – that the law’s function is to make people better – is a fallacy. Hoffman goes on to explain why he thinks this assumption and other elements of therapeutic jurisprudence theory and practice are wrong. Along the way, he argues for a view of retribution as being rooted in the social contract, not in vengeance.


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