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Retributivism and the Quality of Social Life: A Reply to Duff.

Walgrave, Lode
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In Erik Claes, René Foqué, and Tony Peters, eds., Punishment, Restorative Justice and the Morality of Law. Antwerp; Oxford: Intersentia. Pp. 145-156.

Anthony Duff’s approach is normative. As he rightly recalls, a normative theory on criminal justice does not describe how the justice system is currently functioning, but how it should function, according to normative principles and their derivatives. Critics on such theory should therefore mainly be based on normative reflections. However, normative theories are not purely abstract. They cannot deny empirical findings, nor can they be too distant from real feasibility considerations. To be clear from the beginning: I do share Duff’s criticism on the current punishment practice. I do not agree, however, with his principled option for punishment as the mainstream response to crime, for socio-ethical and instrumental reasons. (excerpt)


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