Valuing Emotions in Punishment: an Argument for Social Rehabilitation with the Aid of Social and Affective Neuroscience
Short Title: NeuroethicsValuing Emotions in Punishment
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2018/12/04/
Sources ID: 68346
Collection: Mindfulness, Diversity, and Social Justice
Visibility: Public (group default)
Dominant approaches to punishment tend to downplay the socio-emotional dimension of perpetrators. This attitude is inconsistent with the body of evidence from social and affective neuroscience and its adjacent disciplines on the crucial role of emotions and emotion-related skills coupled with positive social stimuli in promoting prosocial behavior. Through a literature review of these studies, this article explores and assesses the implications that greater consideration of emotional and social factors in sentencing and correctional practices might have for conventional punitive approaches to crime. It argues that proper attention to these factors within the judgment of offending can challenge the tenets of dominant punitive ideologies and responses to crime. It further emphasizes the higher rationality and effectiveness of a paradigm of justice that aims for the social reintegration of perpetrators through a path to self-reform and change that is based on relational and inclusionary processes in the least confining environments possible to still ensure public safety. Hence, this article supports the pursuit of social rehabilitation as the ultimate goal of criminal justice.