From Social Justice to Criminal Justice: Poverty and the Administration of Criminal Law
Heffernan, William C., Kleinig, John, Criminal Justice Ethics
The economically deprived come into contact with the criminal court system in sorely disproportionate numbers. Should economic deprivation then figure in the administration of criminal law? And if so, how? This collection of original, insightful essays explores the troubling questions and ethical dilemmas inherent in this situation.
Do those living under economic and social hardship have the same social obligations as the more fortunate, or does their hardship in some way exempt them from the formal obligations of civil society? Does their encounter with the criminal justice system itself reflect their vulnerable--or even an ascribed--status? To what extent, if any, should we provide public resources for their passage through the criminal justice system? In different ways, the eleven essays in this collection illustrate not only the ideological diversity that informs debates about these questions, but also the extent to which a consensus might be reached. The essays examine such practical issues as heightened vulnerability, indigent representation, and rotten social background defenses. They also explore whether it is possible and warranted for deprivation to be advanced to be accepted as a claim mitigating criminal liability. Ultimately, they address whether and how the processes of criminal adjudication should be used to advance agendas of social justice.
The contributors, including well-known legal and political philosophers Philip Pettit, George Fletcher, and Jeremy Waldron, draw from a broad ideological spectrum to offer comprehensive coverage of these pressing issues. …