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“Punishment, Poverty and Responsibility: The Case for a Hardship Defence”

Hudson, Barbara
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Social & Legal Studies. 8(4):583-591.

I very much appreciate Neil Hutton’s attention to my argument for ‘principled
parsimony’ (Hudson, 1995). I have suggested that sentencing ought to
be able to accommodate differences in economic situation of offenders, and
argued further that such accommodation should be through the development
and application of principled criteria for economic hardship, rather than
being on the basis of individual representations for particularly sympathetic
cases. In this article, I clarify and develop my position on the possibility of a
hardship defence.1
I comment on three points of disagreement between Hutton’s article and
my own position: two points concern what I think are misrepresentations of
my position, and the third concerns an empirical disagreement about the role
of the sentencer. The two points of misrepresentation or misunderstanding
involve ideas of responsibility and of the social; the empirical point is the
balance of formal and substantive justice concerns in sentencing. (excerpt)


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