Defending a communicative theory of punishment: the relationship between hard treatment and amends

Journal article

Lee, Ambrose Y. K. 2016. Defending a communicative theory of punishment: the relationship between hard treatment and amends. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.
AuthorsLee, Ambrose Y. K.

According to communicative theories of punishment, legal punishment is pro tanto justified because it communicates the censure that offenders deserve for their crimes. The aim of this article is to offer a modest defence for a particular version of a communicative theory. This version builds on the one that has been advanced by Antony Duff. According to him, legal punishment should be understood as a kind of (secular) penitential burden that is placed upon offenders to censure them for their crimes, with the aims that they will then come to repent, reform themselves and reconcile with those whom they have wronged. This article departs from Duff’s version, however, by arguing that the penitential burdens in question should be understood more specifically in terms of the amends that offenders ought to make to apologise for their criminal wrongdoings. The article then attempts to address three potential objections to this revised version of the communicative theory.

KeywordsPunishment; Communicative theories; Hard treatment; Preventive deterrence; Penance; Amends
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
PublisherOxford University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Publication dates27 Mar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jun 2016, 13:21

Archived with thanks to Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

ContributorsUniversity of Oxford, Centre for Criminology
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