Back to search

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Social Injustice and Criminal Justice

Alternative title: Sosial urettferdighet og straffens rettferdighet

Awarded: NOK 3.9 mill.

Does social injustice undermine criminal justice? Empirical research has shown that socially deprived persons - the poor, the socially marginalized, those who have suffered adverse childhood experiences such as neglect and abuse - make up a disproportionately large share of the prison population. Although there is an abundance of empirical research on the link between social deprivation and crime and punishment, relatively little attention has been devoted to a systematic discussion of whether the link has normative relevance. Does it matter for the justice of punishing an offender that he or she is (severely) socially deprived? How, if at all, can the criminal justice system accommodate concerns of social injustice while fulfilling its primary function of holding offenders individually responsible for their crimes? These normative questions will be addressed by the philosophical research project Social Injustice and Criminal Justice (SOCRIM). The questions are pertinent to the issue of criminal justice reform, which is currently high on the political agenda in many countries, in part due to an increasing awareness of the socioeconomic iniquities that are reflected in, and to some extent exacerbated by, the criminal justice system. SOCRIM aims to supply answers that are practically relevant, by considering social injustice in relation to legal categories of justification, excuse, mitigation and bars to trial. One part of the project will be conducted in collaboration with a legal scholar, specifically considering how to operationalize in legal doctrine the philosophical conclusions of the project.

SOCRIM is a philosophical research project that studies the normative relevance of social injustice for criminal justice. Empirical research has shown that socially deprived persons - the poor, the socially marginalized, those who have suffered adverse childhood experiences such as neglect and abuse - make up a disproportionately large share of those who are targeted by the criminal justice system. Although there is an abundance of empirical research on the link between social deprivation and crime and punishment, relatively little attention has been devoted to a systematic discussion of whether the link has normative relevance. Does it matter for the justice of punishing an offender that he or she is (severely) socially deprived? Can social injustice undermine retributive justice? And how, if at all, can the criminal justice system accommodate concerns of social injustice while fulfilling its primary function of holding offenders individually responsible for their crimes? These normative questions are particularly relevant to the issue of criminal justice reform, which is currently high on the political agenda in many countries, in part due to an increasing awareness of the socioeconomic iniquities that are reflected in, and to some extent exacerbated by, the criminal justice system. SOCRIM aims to supply answers that are practically relevant, by considering social injustice in relation to issues of justification, excuse, mitigation and as bar to trial. One part of the project will be conducted in collaboration with a legal scholar, specifically considering how to operationalize in legal doctrine the philosophical conclusions of the project.

Publications from Cristin

No publications found

No publications found

No publications found

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam