Response to Tudor: Remorse-based Sentence Reductions in Theory and Practice

Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (3):259-268 (2008)
Steven Tudor defends the mitigation of criminal sentences in cases in which offenders are genuinely remorseful for their crimes. More than this, he takes the principle that such remorse-based sentence reductions are appropriate to be a ‘well-settled legal principle’—so well settled, in fact, that ‘it is among those deep-seated commitments which can serve to test general theories as much as they are tested by them’. However, his account of why remorse should reduce punishment is strongly philosophical in character. He sets to one side the many practical difficulties in implementing such reductions in the real world of criminal justice institutions so that he can focus on the question of whether a plausible account of sentencing can show that remorse should mitigate punishment. I contend that Tudor’s defense of such reductions is unpersuasive in certain respects. Yet even if it can be made more persuasive, I argue that the conditions that would have to be satisfied for remorse-based sentence reductions to be justifiably implemented are so many and various that they would likely exceed our abilities to responsibly grant them in real world legal contexts. I therefore claim that Tudor has failed to provide a defense of the ‘remorse principle’ that serves to explain or justify existing legal practices
Keywords Remorse  Sentence reductions  Sentencing
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    1 ( #306,128 of 1,088,403 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.