Picture of boy being examining by doctor at a tuberculosis sanatorium

Understanding our future through Open Access research about our past...

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare (CSHHH), based within the School of Humanities, and considered Scotland's leading centre for the history of health and medicine.

Research at CSHHH explores the modern world since 1800 in locations as diverse as the UK, Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. Areas of specialism include contraception and sexuality; family health and medical services; occupational health and medicine; disability; the history of psychiatry; conflict and warfare; and, drugs, pharmaceuticals and intoxicants.

Explore the Open Access research of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare. Or explore all of Strathclyde's Open Access research...

Image: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Wellcome Collection - CC-BY.

Just Emotions? The need for emotionally-intelligent justice policy

Tata, Cyrus and Jamieson, Fiona (2017) Just Emotions? The need for emotionally-intelligent justice policy. Scottish Justice Matters, 5 (1). pp. 32-33. ISSN 2052-7950

Text (Tata-Jamieson-SJM-2017-The-need-for-emotionally-intelligent-justice-policy)
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 2.5 logo

Download (1MB) | Preview


What are the Obstacles to a Rational Criminal Justice Policy? It is often wondered why we do not have a more rational, evidence-based system of criminal justice. All the evidence points towards a more targeted use of imprisonment, a joined up system of criminal and social justice and improved resourcing for community penalties and community services. Yet a key reason which prevents justice policy from proceeding rationally is the fear of looking ‘soft’ in the eyes of the public. People feel let down and angry about a system which seems uninterested in showing justice to be done, publicly recognising the wrong, encouraging the wrong-doer to to face up to the wrong, and make amends. Is there any way out of this policy quandary? Here we propose that a key public frustration, which drives cynicism and penal populism, lies in the failure of criminal justice to engage, and be seen to engage, in emotionally-intelligent communication. Too often the process appears sterile, lacking emotional meaning and participation. Mention of ‘emotion’ in law sometimes rings alarm bells. Our argument, however, is that emotionally-intelligent communication is not opposed to, but essential to, rational and progressive policy.