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Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing

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This monograph addresses a contested but under-discussed question in the field of criminal sentencing: should an offender's remorse affect the sentence he or she receives? Answering this question involves tackling a series of others: is it possible to justify mitigation for remorse within a retributive sentencing framework? Precisely how should remorse enter into the sentencing equation? How should the mitigating weight of remorse interact with other aggravating and mitigating factors? Are there some offence or offender characteristics that preclude remorse-based mitigation? Remorse is recognised as a legitimate mitigating factor in many sentencing regimes around the world, with powerful effects on sentence severity. Although there has been some discussion of whether this practice can be justified within the literature on sentencing and penal theory, this monograph provides the first comprehensive and in-depth study of possible theoretical justifications. Whilst the emphasis here is on theoretical justification, the monograph also offers analysis of how normative conclusions would play out in the broader context of sentencing decisions and the guidance intended to structure them. The conclusions reached have relevance for sentencing systems around the world.

Author: Maslen Hannah
Publisher: HART PUBLISHING
Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781509915439
Cover: Paperback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2017

1. Remorse and its Relevance to Penal Theory Overview of the Book

Part I Retributive Arguments

2. The Changed Person Argument

3. The Reduced Harm Argument Criminal Harm and Wrongdoing The Living Standard Analysis of Harm

4. The Already Punished Argument

5. The Responsive Censure Argument

6. The Merciful Compassion Argument

Part II Remorse and Sentencing Practice

7. From Murder to Marijuana: A Nuanced Approach to Remorse-based Mitigation

8. The Remorseful Recidivist

9. Remorse in the Sentencing Guidelines

10. Implications for Penal Theory and Sentencing

Hannah Maslen is a Research Fellow in Ethics at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, and a Junior Research Fellow at New College. She is also a James Martin Fellow at the Oxford Martin School.

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