Caring and the Prison in Philosophy, Policy and Practice: Under Lock and Key

Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (3):415-430 (2020)
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Care appears prima facie antithetical to punishment. Since the overlaps between care and punishment are greater than we paradigmatically expect, care ethics offers a more accurate account of prisons: recognising and critiquing both dehumanising carceral violence, and the necessity, presence, and inadequacies of penal care, as well as unlocking ways of thinking differently about structural change without losing sight of individual issues. After introducing care ethics and evidencing the presence of caring practices in present prisons, the article considers how we punish, in terms of the amount, method, and manner. Treating people in punishment as moral equals is important for liberal deontological penal theories. Treatment as equals requires context. Context is intrinsic to care‐ethics praxis, which provides methods of and standards for accessing and applying this information.



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Helen Brown Coverdale
University College London

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