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It is generally assumed that we are justified in punishing criminals because they have committed a morally wrongful act. Determining when criminal liability should be imposed calls for a moral assessment of the conduct in question, with criminal liability tracking as closely as possible the contours of morality. Versions of this view are frequently argued for in philosophical accounts of crime and punishment, and seem to be presumed by lawyers and policy makers working in the criminal justice system. Challenging such assumptions, this book considers the dominant justifications of punishment and subjects them to a piercing moral critique. It argues that none overcome the objection that people who are convicted of a serious crime and sent to prison have their basic human rights violated. The institution of criminal punishment is shown to be a regrettable necessity not deserving of the moral enthusiasm it enjoys among many politicians and the popular press. From a moral point of view, punishment is entitled at best to grudging toleration. In the course of developing the argument, the book introduces the principal issues of criminal law theory with the aim of presenting a morally enlightened perspective on crimes and why we punish them. Enforcement of the law by police, prosecutors, and courts is a matter of concern for political morality, and the principal practices of the criminal justice system are subjected to moral scrutiny. The book offers an engaging, provocative introduction to thinking about the philosophy of crime and punishment, challenging students and other readers to think about whether we are justified in punishing wrongdoers.
Presenting an engaging critique of current criminal justice practice in the UK and USA, this book introduces central questions of criminal law theory. It develops a forceful argument that the prevailing justifications for punishment are misguided, and have resulted in the systematic infliction of unnecessary human misery.
In The Immorality of Punishment Michael Zimmerman argues forcefully that not only our current practice but indeed any practice of legal punishment is deeply morally repugnant, no matter how vile the behaviour that is its target. Despite the fact that it may be difficult to imagine a state functioning at all, let alone well, without having recourse to punishing those who break its laws, Zimmerman makes a timely and compelling case for the view that we must seek and put into practice alternative means of preventing crime and promoting social stability.
This book presents a comprehensive theory of a culpability-based criminal law.
The New Jim Crow was initially published with a modest first printing and reasonable expectations for a hard-hitting book on a tough topic. Now, ten-plus printings later, the long-awaited paperback version of the book Lani Guinier calls “brave and bold,” and Pulitzer Prize–winner David Levering Lewis calls “stunning,” will at last be available. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. Featured on The Tavis Smiley Show, Bill Moyers Journal, Democracy Now, and C-Span’s Washington Journal, The New Jim Crow has become an overnight phenomenon, sparking a much-needed conversation—including a recent mention by Cornel West on Real Time with Bill Maher&mdas;about ways in which our system of mass incarceration has come to resemble systems of racial control from a different era.
Providing scholars with a comprehensive international resource, a common point of entry into cutting edge contemporary research and a snapshot of the state and scope of the field, this Handbook takes a broad approach to its subject matter, disciplinarily, geographically, and systemically.
In the United States, immigration is generally seen as a law and order issue. Amidst increasing anti-immigrant sentiment, unauthorized migrants have been cast as lawbreakers. Governing Immigration Through Crime offers a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the use of crime and punishment to manage undocumented immigrants. Presenting key readings and cutting-edge scholarship, this volume examines a range of contemporary criminalizing practices: restrictive immigration laws, enhanced border policing, workplace audits, detention and deportation, and increased policing of immigration at the state and local level. Of equal importance, the readings highlight how migrants have managed to actively resist these punitive practices. In bringing together critical theorists of immigration to understand how the current political landscape propagates the view of the "illegal alien" as a threat to social order, this text encourages students and general readers alike to think seriously about the place of undocumented immigrants in American society.

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