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Community Sanctions in the Philosophy of Punishment - Prof Rob Canton - Thursday 9th November

last modified Oct 03, 2017 11:24 AM

This seminar will be given by Professor Rob Canton, Professor in Community and Criminal Justice, De Montfort University.

It starts at 5.30pm, and will be held in Seminar Room B3, Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA. A drinks reception in the basement foyer will follow this seminar for attendees.  The IoC Public Seminar Series is open to all interested in attending, with no ticket required.

‘Hard treatment’ is part of most definitions of punishment and philosophers have accordingly tended to focus on those court sanctions that can most plainly be understood in this way – most obviously, imprisonment. The pains of imprisonment (though not, perhaps, all of them) are precisely intended as punishment. But there are other common ‘punishments’ that are incompletely understood if regarded simply as the intentional imposition of hardship. Conditional and suspended sentences are examples, where the intention seems to be less the imposition of hard treatment than the threat of it should there be further offending. Community sanctions - probation, community service and electronic monitoring - may involve burdensome impositions, but they have other objectives besides or even instead of hard treatment. Reflection on these sanctions puts to test some of the more familiar debates in the philosophy of punishment. It will be suggested that it may be better to broaden the purview of the philosophy of punishment and extend it to a philosophy of righting wrongs that considers not only the ethics of imposing punishment but also of working towards reintegration and reconciliation. This undertaking would affirm the central place of community sanctions in determining a moral appropriate response to wrongdoing.