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Ethics of Imprisonment: Essays in Criminal Justice Ethics
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This licentiate thesis consists of three essays which all concern the ethics of imprisonment and what constitutes an ethically defensible treatment of criminal offenders.

Paper 1 defends the claim that prisoners have a right to privacy. I argue that the right to privacy is important because of its connection to moral agency. For that reasons is the protection of inmates’ right to privacy also warranted by different established philosophical theories about the justification of legal punishment. I discuss the practical implications of this argument. Ultimately I argue the invasion of privacy should be minimized to the greatest extent possible without compromising other important values and rights to safety and security. In defending this position, I argue that respect for inmates’ privacy should be part of the objective of creating and upholding a secure environment to better effect in the long run.

Paper 2 discusses whether the collateral harm of imprisonment to the close family members and children of prison inmates may give rise to special moral obligations towards them. Several collateral harms, including decreased psychological wellbeing, financial costs, loss of economic opportunities, and intrusion and control over their private lives, are identified. Two competing perspectives in moral philosophy are applied in order to assess whether the harms are permissible. The first is consequentialist and the second is deontological, and it is argued that both of them fails and therefore it is hard to defend the position that allowing for these harms would be morally permissible, even for the sake of the overall aims of incarceration. Instead, it is argued that these harms imply that imprisonment should only be used as a last resort. Where it is necessary, imprisonment should give rise to special moral obligations towards families of prisoners. Using the notion of residual obligation, these obligations are defended, categorized and clarified.

Paper 3 evaluates electronic monitoring (EM) from an ethical perspective and discusses whether it could be a promising alternative to imprisonment as a criminal sanction for a series of criminal offenses. EM evaluated from an ethical perspective as six initial ethical challenges are addressed and discussed. It is argued that since EM is developing as a technology and a punitive means, it is urgent to discuss its ethical implications and incorporate moral values into its design and development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. , 31 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 47
Keyword [en]
Collateral Harms, Communicative Theory of Punishment, Consequentialism, Criminal Justice Ethics, Doctrine of Double Effect, Electronic Monitoring, Imprisonment, Legal Punishment, Moral Education Theory of Punishment, Privacy, Philosophy of Punishment, Retributivism
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145357ISBN: 978-91-7595-076-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-145357DiVA: diva2:717889
Presentation
2014-05-27, Rum 1515, Teknikringen 74D, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20140519

Available from: 2014-05-19 Created: 2014-05-19 Last updated: 2014-05-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Treating Inmates as Moral Agents: A Defense of the Right to Privacy in Prison
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Treating Inmates as Moral Agents: A Defense of the Right to Privacy in Prison
2014 (English)In: Criminal Justice Ethics, ISSN 0731-129X, E-ISSN 1937-5948, Vol. 33, no 1, 21-39 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper my concern is with the collective moral responsibility of criminal investigators for the outcomes of their investigations, bearing in mind that it is important to distinguish collective moral responsibility from, and relate it to, individual moral responsibility. In what sense, if any, are police detectives individually and collectively morally responsible for their success (or, for that matter, their failure) in gathering sufficient evidence to identify, arrest, and charge an offender who has committed a serious crime? Alternatively, in what sense are they morally responsible in cases where they identify, arrest, and charge an innocent person? And in what sense, if any, are police detectives individually and collectively morally responsible for the ultimate outcome of the trial, the finding by the courts of someone they have investigated and charged with a serious crime to be guilty or innocent?

Keyword
Criminal Justice Ethics, Moral agency, Privacy, Prison, Philosophy of Punishment
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-144333 (URN)10.1080/0731129X.2014.906094 (DOI)2-s2.0-84899975334 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140519

Available from: 2014-04-20 Created: 2014-04-20 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. The Harms Beyond Imprisonment: Do We Have Special Moral Obligations Towards Families and Children of Prisoners?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Harms Beyond Imprisonment: Do We Have Special Moral Obligations Towards Families and Children of Prisoners?
2014 (English)In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, E-ISSN 1572-8447, Vol. 17, no 4, 775-789 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses whether the collateral harm of imprisonment to the close family members and children of prison inmates may give rise to special moral obligations towards them. Several collateral harms, including decreased psychological wellbeing, financial costs, loss of economic opportunities, and intrusion and control over their private lives, are identified. Two competing perspectives in moral philosophy are then applied in order to assess whether the harms are permissible. The first is consequentialist and the second is deontological. It is argued that both of them fails and therefore it is hard to defend the position that allowing for these harms would be morally permissible, even for the sake of the overall aims of incarceration. Instead, it is argued that these harms imply that imprisonment should only be used as a last resort. Where it is necessary, it should give rise to special moral obligations. Using the notion of residual obligation, these obligations are defended, categorized and clarified.

Keyword
Collateral harm, Consequentialism, Doctrine of double effect, Imprisonment, Philosophy of punishment, Residual obligations
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136253 (URN)10.1007/s10677-013-9483-7 (DOI)000339804500015 ()2-s2.0-84904683275 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140903

Available from: 2013-12-04 Created: 2013-12-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Electronic Monitoring of Offenders: An Ethical Review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electronic Monitoring of Offenders: An Ethical Review
2014 (English)In: Science and Engineering Ethics, ISSN 1353-3452, E-ISSN 1471-5546, Vol. 20, no 2, 505-518 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper considers electronic monitoring (EM) a promising alternative to imprisonment as a criminal sanction for a series of criminal offenses. However, little has been said about EM from an ethical perspective. To evaluate EM from an ethical perspective, six initial ethical challenges are addressed and discussed. It is argued that since EM is developing as a technology and a punitive means, it is urgent to discuss its ethical implications and incorporate moral values into its design and development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2014
Keyword
Criminal justice ethics, Electronic monitoring, Legal punishment, Philosophy of punishment, Privacy, Value-sensitive design
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136248 (URN)10.1007/s11948-013-9462-3 (DOI)000336905900015 ()2-s2.0-84964316037 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140617

Available from: 2013-12-04 Created: 2013-12-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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