Societies take it for granted that we should punish those who commit crimes. Punishment for serious crime takes various forms in different areas of world and periods of history: caning, mutilation, death, exile, servitude, and imprisonment are all examples. But why do societies engage in this practice? What purpose does punishing serve? And does the punishment we find in modern societies do an effective job of meeting these aims?
A leading philosopher, a decorated criminologist, and a prominent prison reform campaigner and ex-governor engage in a dialogue to answer these questions.
Meet our speakers and chair
Anastasia Chamberlen (@a_chamberlen) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Warwick University, having previously taught at Birkbeck University and at LSE. Dr Chambelen was awarded the 2019 British Society of Criminology Book Prize for her book Embodying Punishment: Emotions, Identities and Lived Experiences in Women's Prisons and was also recipient of the 2018 European Society of Criminology 'Young Criminologist of the Year' prize.
Peter Dawson is Director of the Prison Reform Trust. Peter spent 15 years working in the Home Office, including in the then Prison Department, culminating in a period on the Prisons Board. He worked as a prison officer in HMP Brixton before returning there as Deputy Governor in 2002, and subsequently governing both HMP Downview (then a prison for women) and HMP High Down between 2005 and 2012.
Antony Duff is Professor Emeritus at the University of Stirling and Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Duff is among the most influential living philosophers of punishment. He has also written widely on other aspects of the criminal justice system and has led major research programmes on criminalization and the trial process.
Lewis Ross is Assistant Professor in LSE’s Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. Having originally studied to be a lawyer, Lewis now works on the philosophy of law, among other things, with a particular interest in legal proof and the aims of the criminal justice system. He’s writing a book for Cambridge University Press on legal philosophy.
More about this event
The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method (@LSEPhilosophy) at LSE was founded by Professor Sir Karl Popper in 1946, and remains internationally renowned for a type of philosophy that is both continuous with the sciences and socially relevant.
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Podcast & Video
A podcast of this event is available to download from Punishment.
A video of this event is available to watch at Punishment.
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Featured image (used in source code with watermark added): Photo by wu yi on Unsplash.