Theories of Punishment in the Age of Mass Incarceration: A Closer Look at the Empirical Problem Silenced by Justificationism (The Brazilian Case)
25 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2013 Last revised: 20 Jul 2013
Date Written: April 26, 2013
The paper examines three central problems involving punitive social control in recent decades. First, the steady increase in the number of incarcerated people (the phenomenon of great confinement), with special emphasis on the Brazilian case; second, the way criminology interprets contemporary confinement (New Penology); and finally, the lack of a (dogmatic) criminal law theory on the reality of mass incarceration. Incarceration data are presented here as premises and their inevitable ethical, social and political implications, in order to inquire about the relations between the (normative-philosophical) theories regarding the justification of punishment and the (empirical) phenomena of mass incarceration. The questions behind the current reflection are therefore about what role criminal theories play in the expansion or contraction of the power to punish (potestas puniendi) and the explanations the justification models offer to the problem of hyper-punishment.
Keywords: Punishment, Penology, Theories of Punishment, Brazilian Punishment
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