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Proportionate SentencingExploring the Principles$
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Andrew von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272600.001.0001

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The Justification for Punishment's Existence: Censure and Prevention

The Justification for Punishment's Existence: Censure and Prevention

(p.12) 2 The Justification for Punishment's Existence: Censure and Prevention
Proportionate Sentencing

Andrew von Hirsch

Andrew Ashworth (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses why the institution of punishment should exist at all. It argues that a workable theory of why the criminal sanction should exist needs to rest primarily on normative, non-consequentialist claims, and needs to be concerned in part with consequences. In particular, such an account must contain a deontological element, related to how the offender should be addressed as an agent capable of moral deliberation; yet must nevertheless consider preventive effects to some degree so that, in principle, the system of criminal law and sanctions could be abolished, were it no longer deemed essential to prevent crime. The chapter develops a proposed justification for the criminal sanction that emphasizes the idea of penal censure, but gives a limited complementary role to prevention.

Keywords:   punishment, criminal sanctions, criminal law, penal censure, moral deliberation

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