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Punishment and welfare: defending offender’s inclusion as subjects of state care

Coverdale, Helen Brown (2017) Punishment and welfare: defending offender’s inclusion as subjects of state care. Ethics and Social Welfare. pp. 1-16. ISSN 1749-6535

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17496535.2017.1364398


Many criminal offenders come from disadvantaged backgrounds, which punishment entrenches. Criminal culpability explains some disadvantageous treatment in state-offender interactions; yet offenders remain people, and ‘some mother’s child’, in Eva Kittay’s terms. Offending behaviour neither erases needs, nor fully excuses our responsibility for offenders’ needs. Caring is demanded in principle, recognising the offender’s personhood. Supporting offenders may amplify welfare resources: equipping offenders to provide self-care; to meet caring responsibilities; and enabling offenders’ contribution to shared social life, by providing support and furthering the choices of others seeking to engage with them. The desistance paradigm (viewing desistance from offending as a process, following from an offender’s active choice in the context of stabilising social structures and personal circumstances), implies that a supportive environment may facilitate reduced recidivism. While decisions about criminal culpability need justice, we may use state resources most effectively by also including care ethics in our thinking about punishment.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2017 09:23
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:33

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