Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1909958
 


 



Changing Law’s Mind: How Neuroscience Can Help Us Punish
Criminals More Fairly and Effectively


Deborah W. Denno


Fordham University School of Law

August 15, 2011

Deborah W. Denno, CHANGING LAW'S MIND: HOW NEUROSCIENCE CAN HELP US PUNISH CRIMINALS MORE FAIRLY AND EFFECTIVELY, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper 1909958

Abstract:     
A criminal justice system should protect society from crime and also punish criminals at the level of their blameworthiness. Changing Law’s Mind contends that new insights about the brain can help us in the quest to construct a fairer and more effective criminal justice system. Recent neuroscientific discoveries suggest that some of our previous intuitions about human culpability fail to reflect the reality of how the brain functions. If we ignore these developments, we risk perpetuating a justice system that punishes some people far too much and others too little or not at all.

The intersection of law and neuroscience is a thriving topic, but this book is unique. Many books and chapters in edited books focus narrowly on issues such as the diagnosis and effect of brain abnormalities or the possibility that neuroscience will someday perfect lie detection. Changing Law’s Mind, instead, provides readers with a foundation in both the legal doctrine and neuroscience and then uses that bridge to question the criminal law’s underlying principles and practice, starting from the moment a case is processed in the system to the point at which a defendant is sentenced and punished. Based on this assessment, the book suggests ways in which the criminal law can change - either quickly by accommodating our new understanding of the human mind into current practice or more fundamentally by incorporating this understanding into long-term modifications of criminal law doctrine.

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Date posted: August 15, 2011 ; Last revised: September 23, 2011

Suggested Citation

Denno, Deborah W., Changing Law’s Mind: How Neuroscience Can Help Us Punish Criminals More Fairly and Effectively (August 15, 2011). Deborah W. Denno, CHANGING LAW'S MIND: HOW NEUROSCIENCE CAN HELP US PUNISH CRIMINALS MORE FAIRLY AND EFFECTIVELY, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper 1909958. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1909958

Contact Information

Deborah W. Denno (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6868 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)
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