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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2017

Strict Liability's Criminogenic Effect, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is easy to understand the apparent appeal of strict liability to policymakers and legal reformers seeking to reduce crime: if the criminal law can do away with its traditional culpability requirement, it can increase the likelihood of conviction and punishment of those who engage in prohibited conduct or bring about prohibited harm or evil. And such an increase in punishment rate can enhance the crime-control effectiveness of a system built upon general deterrence or incapacitation of the dangerous. Similar arguments support the use of criminal liability for regulatory offenses. Greater punishment rates suggest greater compliance.

But this analysis fails ...


Play Fair With Recidivists, Richard Dagger Jan 2012

Play Fair With Recidivists, Richard Dagger

Political Science Faculty Publications

Retributivists thus face a difficult challenge. Either we must go against the social grain, and perhaps our own intuitions, by insisting that a criminal offense carry the same penalty or punishment no matter how many previous convictions an offender has accrued; or we must find a way to justify the recidivist premium. I shall take the second route here by arguing that recidivism itself is a kind of criminal offense. In developing this argument, I shall rely on Youngjae Lee's insightful analysis of "recidivism as omission." I shall complement his analysis, however, by grounding it in a conception of ...


Social Contracts, Fair Play, And The Justification Of Punishment, Richard Dagger Jan 2011

Social Contracts, Fair Play, And The Justification Of Punishment, Richard Dagger

Political Science Faculty Publications

In recent years, the counterintuitive claim that criminals consent to their own punishment has been revived by philosophers who attempt to ground the justification of punishment in some version of the social contract. In this paper, I examine three such attempts—“contractarian” essays by Christopher Morris and Claire Finkelstein and an essay by Corey Brettschneider from the rival “contractualist” camp—and I find all three unconvincing. Each attempt is plausible, I argue, but its plausibility derives not from the appeal to a social contract but from considerations of fair play. Rather than look to the social contract for a justification ...


Play Fair With Punishment, Richard Dagger Apr 1993

Play Fair With Punishment, Richard Dagger

Political Science Faculty Publications

If we want to provide a justification for legal punishment, then, we must answer two distinct questions: (1) What justifies punishment as a social practice? and (2) What justifies punishing particular persons? The principle of fair play is an especially attractive theory of punishment, I shall agree, because it offers plausible and compelling answers to both these questions. I shall also suggest that there is a third question - How should we punish those who commit crimes? - that fair play cannot answer without help from other sources.