Philosophy colloquium: Helen Brown Coverdale (online event)

Risking penal collateral consequences and the moral permissibility of punishment

By Helen Brown Coverdale (UCL) 

Date: Thursday December 17, 2020

Time: 1330-1500 (GMT+3)

This is an online event. All are welcome. If you would like to listen to the talk please click on the following link when the event is due to begin. 

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 875 4537 6459
Passcode: 654104

Abstract: Offenders need to ‘get lucky’ to avoid significantly harmful outcomes when their punishments interact with their personal and social circumstances. The collateral consequences of punishment have recently received some of the attention they deserve. However, collateral consequences for offenders following from interactions between the sentence and the offender’s circumstances are more complex and morally significant than we have realised. Without paying sufficient attention to circumstances, the state cannot claim to know the risks of collateral consequences, much less defend these risks as morally permissible. To provide equal concern and respect, the state cannot rely on luck to avoid morally impermissible harms to those it punishes. Hence, the state fails to treat offenders as equals, undermining the justification of punishment.

About the speaker: Helen Brown Coverdale is a Lecturer in Political Theory in the Political Science Department at University College London. Her core research interest is the moral dimensions of interactions between individuals and the state; particularly the relevance of context for understanding what morally appropriate treatment requires in practice, and the contribution of legal frameworks to supporting morally appropriate treatment of persons by states. She has published in journals including Ethics and Social Welfare, Theory and Research in Education and has an article forthcoming with the Journal of Applied Philosophy. Helen previously worked in the criminal justice sector, and as a senior parliamentary researcher in the Westminster parliament.



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