From the Philosophy of Punishment to the Philosophy of Criminal Justice

In Matthew C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 357-376 (2022)
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Abstract

While punishment is a longstanding object of philosophical scrutiny, other controversial aspects of the justice system, such as policing, have flown under the radar. In this paper, we consider possible reasons why philosophers interested in crime and punishment have neglected policing. We make the case for a broader account of the political morality of the justice system, with a particular emphasis on policing. We sketch the outlines of an egalitarian version of such a theory, highlighting parallels between policing and the welfare state. Finally, we turn to recent calls for police abolition. Evaluating such radical claims requires, we argue, going beyond the traditional confines of the philosophy of punishment and considering a more holistic and interdisciplinary theory of criminal justice.

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