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From Moral Theory to Penal Attitudes and Back: A Theoretically Integrated Modeling Approach

de Keijser, Jan Willem
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Behavioral Sciences and the Law. 20: 317-335.

Within the frameworks of utilitarianism, retributivism, and restorative justice, the authors of this paper focus on judges’ attitudes towards the goals and functions of punishment. While punishment is widely accepted as a proper response to offenders, it begs the fundamental question of what is suitable and just punishment. Indeed, assert the authors, the practice of punishment is morally problematic and so requires moral justification if it is to be inflicted. Many have constructed moral legal theories to legitimize the principle of punishment and the apportionment of particular punishments. The authors, however, believe that the link between moral theory and practice with respect to punishment is not all that evident and straightforward. With all of this in view, they examine systematically and in depth a theoretically integrated measurement of penal attitudes. They do this by developing a theoretically integrated model of penal attitudes. Then, in the context of the Dutch legal system, they locating judges’ attitudes within this model.


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