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Republicanism in Sentencing: Recognition, Recompense, and Reassurance

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Ch. 7.2. In, Andrew von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth, eds., Principled Sentencing. Readings on Theory and Policy. Oxford: Hart Publishing. P. 317-330.

Philip Pettit and John Braithwaite have argued in their book, Not Just Deserts: A Republican Theory of Criminal Justice, for a criminal justice system founded on and shaped by a republican philosophy of liberty. In response Andrew von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth have faulted republican theory as a basis for criminal justice, perhaps especially in the area of sentencing policy. The criticism is that republican theory opens the potential for sentencing without regard for the offender and the nature of the offense in the interest of enhancing the personal dominion of the victim. Sentencing could thus far exceed any sense of just deserts or punishment proportionate to the offense. Pettit and Braithwaite answer von Hirsch and Ashworth in this essay by developing more fully the sentencing policy implicit in republican theory. Toward that end, they discuss the notion of republican dominion, crime as denial of dominion, rectifying the evil of crime, and rectification in contrast to retribution.


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