From Social Justice to Criminal Justice: Poverty and the by William C. Heffernan, John Kleinig

By William C. Heffernan, John Kleinig

The economically disadvantaged come into touch with the legal courtroom process in disproportionate quantity. This number of unique, interactive essays, written from a number of ideological views, explores a number of the extra troubling questions and moral dilemmas inherent during this scenario. The members, together with famous criminal and political philosophers Philip Pettit, George Fletcher, and Jeremy Waldron, study concerns akin to heightened vulnerability, indigent illustration, and rotten social heritage defenses.

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New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 235-36. 15. For an argument as to the benefits of such targeted programs, see Peter W. Greenwood, Karen E. Model, C. Peter Rydell, and James Chiesa, Diverting Children from a Life of Crime (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 1996). 16. Rawls outlines his hypothetical contractarian argument in A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), 118-61. 17. Among the best-known responses to Rawls is that of Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

Given the importance of these factors, retributivists have argued, courts cannot treat the background circumstances of an act—a defendant's economic circumstances, for example—as important considerations when meting out sentences. 51 The first of these he calls "recognition," a term he uses to refer to a court's effort to secure a defendant's acknowledgment of the illegitimacy of his attempt to dominate someone else. The second he calls "recompense"—that is, the steps that should be taken to restore the victim as closely as possible to the situation he was in prior to the wrong.

Even on questions of mitigation, some convergence seems possible. Heffernan, after all, considers a claim of mitigation for poverty-induced disorders that is not entirely unlike Roberts's proposal for a partial excuse for poverty-induced stress. Indeed, once we distinguish between violent and nonviolent crimes, it seems that the possibilities for convergence increase even further. Hudson's category "crimes of the poor" clearly falls within the nonviolent category, and Failer of course is concerned solely with nonviolent crimes.

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