The limits of blame: rethinking punishment and responsibility

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Publisher:
Harvard University Press,
Pub. Date:
2018.
Language:
English
Description

Faith in the power and righteousness of retribution has taken over the American criminal justice system. Approaching punishment and responsibility from a philosophical perspective, Erin Kelly challenges the moralism behind harsh treatment of criminal offenders and calls into question our society's commitment to mass incarceration.

The Limits of Blame takes issue with a criminal justice system that aligns legal criteria of guilt with moral criteria of blameworthiness. Many incarcerated people do not meet the criteria of blameworthiness, even when they are guilty of crimes. Kelly underscores the problems of exaggerating what criminal guilt indicates, particularly when it is tied to the illusion that we know how long and in what ways criminals should suffer. Our practice of assigning blame has gone beyond a pragmatic need for protection and a moral need to repudiate harmful acts publicly. It represents a desire for retribution that normalizes excessive punishment.

Appreciating the limits of moral blame critically undermines a commonplace rationale for long and brutal punishment practices. Kelly proposes that we abandon our culture of blame and aim at reducing serious crime rather than imposing retribution. Were we to refocus our perspective to fit the relevant moral circumstances and legal criteria, we could endorse a humane, appropriately limited, and more productive approach to criminal justice.

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ISBN:
9780674980778
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID8222ef5c-03f7-e3d8-3475-f279ad52eda1
Grouping Titlelimits of blame rethinking punishment and responsibility
Grouping Authorkelly erin
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-06-05 00:37:21AM
Last Indexed2019-10-22 02:26:45AM

Solr Details

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authorKelly, Erin.
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display_descriptionFaith in the power and righteousness of retribution has taken over the American criminal justice system. Approaching punishment and responsibility from a philosophical perspective, Limits of Blame takes issue with a criminal justice system that aligns legal criteria of guilt with moral criteria of blameworthiness. Many incarcerated people do not meet the criteria of blameworthiness, even when they are guilty of crimes. The author underscores the problems of exaggerating what criminal guilt indicates, particularly when it is tied to the illusion that we know how long and in what ways criminals should suffer. Our practice of assigning blame has gone beyond a pragmatic need for protection and a moral need to repudiate harmful acts publicly. It represents a desire for retribution that normalizes excessive punishment. Kelly proposes that we abandon our culture of blame and aim at reducing serious crime rather than imposing retribution. Were we to refocus our perspective to fit the relevant moral circumstances and legal criteria, we could endorse a humane, appropriately limited, and more productive approach to criminal justice.--
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ils:480BookBooksEnglishHarvard University Press, 2018.229 pages ; 25 cm
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subject_facetCriminal liability -- United States -- Philosophy
Punishment -- Philosophy
Punishment -- United States -- Philosophy
Retribution -- Philosophy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Penology
title_displayThe limits of blame : rethinking punishment and responsibility
title_fullThe limits of blame : rethinking punishment and responsibility / Erin I. Kelly
title_shortThe limits of blame
title_subrethinking punishment and responsibility
topic_facetCriminal liability
Philosophy
Punishment
Retribution
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Penology