Carceral Progressivism and Animal Victims

Carceral Logics: Human Incarceration and Animal Confinement (Lori Gruen & Justin Marceau, eds.) (forthcoming Cambridge University Press 2021)

U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-25

19 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021 Last revised: 22 Jul 2021

See all articles by Benjamin Levin

Benjamin Levin

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: July 7, 2021

Abstract

This chapter places the criminalization of harm to non-human animals within a larger context of left and progressive efforts to use criminal law to address social problems. This chapter treats the animal welfare movement’s turn to criminal legal solutions as a case study of the broader phenomenon of “carceral progressivism.” Specifically, the chapter identifies this case study as reflecting two particularly common features of left or progressive criminalization projects: (1) the presence of a particularly vulnerable class of victims; and (2) the claim that criminal law can send a message about society’s respect for that class of victims and condemnation of harm done to them. Ultimately, the chapter argues that carceral progressivism – despite its ostensibly egalitarian or left commitments – risks reinscribing and legitimating the evils of the carceral state.

Keywords: criminal law, abolition, decarceration, mass incarceration, overcriminalization, expressivism, victims’ rights, animal rights, carceral progressivism

Suggested Citation

Levin, Benjamin, Carceral Progressivism and Animal Victims (July 7, 2021). Carceral Logics: Human Incarceration and Animal Confinement (Lori Gruen & Justin Marceau, eds.) (forthcoming Cambridge University Press 2021), U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-25, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882243

Benjamin Levin (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
46
Abstract Views
349
PlumX Metrics