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October 27, 2013

"Democracy on Display: A Case for Public Sanctions"

The title of this post is the headline of this intriguing new piece by Zachary Baron Shemtob now available here via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article begins by discussing the work of Jason Brennan, who argues that voter ignorance is inherently and instrumentally problematic to democratic governance. I then apply this point to the contemporary criminal justice system and penology. I argue that voters’ lack of knowledge here is both unjust on those punished and, using the recent work of William J. Stuntz and others, has resulted in egregious consequences.

The majority of the article focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of public punishments, concluding that such sanctions have great potential to challenge citizens’ ignorance of our penal system. Ultimately, the goal is not to offer any sort of definitive conclusion, but to begin a long-overdue discussion on the role of public ignorance in our broken prison system, and one way in which such ignorance might be dispelled.

October 27, 2013 at 06:06 PM | Permalink


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