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Sentencing, inequality and justice

Hutton, N. (1999) Sentencing, inequality and justice. Social and Legal Studies, 8 (4). pp. 571-582. ISSN 0964-6639

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Abstract

Barbara Hudson's critique of the 'just deserts' approach to punishment has been one of the most important attempts to construct a 'progressive'approach to punishment, an area of policy which has always been problematic for those on the left. This discussion of her work is in sympathy with Hudson's political stance but critical of her specific proposals to resolve the problem of how to punish justly in an unjust society. The central argument of this essay is that Hudson's proposals for a 'social theory of culpability' are unlikely to help the progressive agenda because of a confusion between the proper disciplinary projects of law and politics.