Finality and Rehabilitation

4 Wake Forest J.L. & Pol'y 121 (2014) (invited symposium contribution)

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 136

29 Pages Posted: 8 May 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2014

See all articles by Meghan J. Ryan

Meghan J. Ryan

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2014

Abstract

New science and evolving societal views have led commentators to question the doctrine of finality. This parallels commentators’ embrace of rehabilitation during the middle of the last century. Today, casting off the strictures of finality and embracing rehabilitation are considered complementary positions, but finality has historically been understood as promoting rehabilitation. This shift stems from our changing understandings of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation focuses on offender change — on whether an offender is a final product or, rather, whether he is capable of transformation. Offender change, though, could be either change in character or change in behavior, or a combination of these two types of transformation. While finality may promote character change, it could undercut behavioral change. These possibly different effects of finality in the context of rehabilitation makes it vital to disentangle various understandings of rehabilitation and evaluate their attainability and desirability.

Suggested Citation

Ryan, Meghan J., Finality and Rehabilitation (May 4, 2014). 4 Wake Forest J.L. & Pol'y 121 (2014) (invited symposium contribution); SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 136. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432560 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2432560

Meghan J. Ryan (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.smu.edu/professor-profiles/ryan

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