Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Criminal Justice Ethics

Criminal justice raises intricate moral questions concerning the justification of the penal institution, the mode and extent of criminal sanctions enforcement, the content of criminal sanctions (imprisonment, fines, alternative punishments), the nature of the agent holding penal authority, the normative principles of criminalization, the possibility of punishing non-individual agents (such as states or corporations), the norms of justice at play in state punishment and, more urgently, the moral dilemmas confronting the criminal justice practitioners and officials.

Andrei Poama

The main aim of this research axis is to create an environment that explores the moral questions listed above from a philosophical angle, but does so in a way that welcomes the involvement of criminal justice officials and practitioners perspective.

The criminal justice ethics axis consists in the following activities:

  • Organization of (national and international) workshops and small seminars on the question of justice as applied to state punishment and alternative modes of criminal sanctioning;
  • Research internships with graduate students, junior and senior academics, and criminal justice professionals;
  • Prospectively, we want to encourage the organization of joint events and projects exploring the ethics of criminal justice and criminal sentencing at an international level, in collaboration with various international institutions and think-tanks situated in the Hague or abroad;
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