A Fairness-Based Defense of Non-Punitive Responses to Crime

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Giorgia Brucato
Perica Jovchevski


In this paper, we offer a defense of non-punitive measures as morally justified responses to crime within a framework of society as a fair system of cooperation among free and equal individuals. Our argument proceeds in three steps. First, we elaborate on the premises of our argument: we situate criminal acts within a model of society as a fair system of cooperation, identify the types of unfair disadvantages crimes bring about, and consider the social aim of the criminal justice system. Next, we reject the claim defended by fair-play retributivists that fairness considerations make punishment a necessary response to criminal acts. In the last step, we demonstrate that it is rather non-punitive responses to crime that are warranted under the principle of fairness and, as such, are morally justified. We conclude the paper by rejecting two possible objections to our defense: the “responsibility gap” and the “victims’ claim to justice” objections.


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Brucato, Giorgia, and Perica Jovchevski. 2024. “A Fairness-Based Defense of Non-Punitive Responses to Crime”. Diametros 21 (79):40-55. https://doi.org/10.33392/diam.1889.
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