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Desert and the Three Rs

Ashworth, Andrew
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Ch. 7.3 In, Andrew von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth, eds., Principled Sentencing. Readings on Theory and Policy. Oxford: Hart Publishing. P. 331-336

In this essay, Andrew Ashworth and Andrew von Hirsch continue their debate with Philip Pettit and John Braithwaite about a republican theory of criminal justice, with particular focus on sentencing policy. Pettit and Braithwaite argued against a just deserts perspective and for a republican perspective in the book Not Just Deserts: A Republican Theory of Criminal Justice. Ashworth and von Hirsch, proponents of a just deserts approach, critically reviewed the book and faulted a republican approach. In another essay in this book, Pettit and Braithwaite spelled out their view on sentencing more fully, emphasizing three mains ideas: recognition, recompense, and reassurance. Now comes the response of Ashworth and von Hirsch that the “three Rsâ€? do not convince them that republican theory provides adequate fairness constraints on sentencing. In fact, Ashworth and von Hirsch contend that Pettit and Braithwaite only worsen the potential for unfairness in their more detailed treatment of republican-based sentencing.


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