Book Chapter

Civic Punishment



Duff RA & Marshall SE (2016) Civic Punishment. In: Dzur A, Loader I & Sparks R (eds.) Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration. Studies in Penal Theory and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 33-59.

This chapter argues that in a democratic republic of free and equal citizens, criminal punishment can be adequately justified only if it can be portrayed as a civic duty that offenders ought to undertake. The authors sketch the key features of such a democratic republic, and of the kind of criminal law to which its members can properly subject themselves and each other. A crucial aspect of such a criminal law is that citizens have active roles to play in its enterprise, including the roles of offender and convicted offender, who should be seen as citizens who have, through their offending, acquired distinctive new civic responsibilities to their fellow citizens. This is an idealized conception of what criminal law ought to be, but it is an important ideal, since it shows how criminal law could treat offenders with the respect that should still be due to them as citizens.

punishment; criminal law; democratic republic; citizenship; civic role

Title of seriesStudies in Penal Theory and Philosophy
Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online24/11/2016
PublisherOxford University Press
Publisher URL…8?cc=gb&lang=en&
Place of publicationOxford

People (2)


Professor Antony Duff
Professor Antony Duff

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy

Professor Sandra Marshall
Professor Sandra Marshall

Emeritus Professor, Philosophy