Review of Hannah Maslen: Remorse, Penal Theory and Sentencing

Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2015, 212 pp
  • Jonathan PetersonEmail author
Book Review

Remorse affects our judgments about how wrongdoers should be treated and, perhaps, even about what they deserve. Lack of remorse can be seen as an aggravating factor calling for harsher blame and punishment, while its presence is often thought to call for mitigation of the condemnation a wrongdoer would otherwise receive. Moreover, remorse is recognized as a mitigating factor in sentencing practice in many jurisdictions. But should remorse count as a mitigating factor in criminal sentencing? From a retributive standpoint, remorse appears to be irrelevant. If retributivist theories are primarily backward looking, then a wrongdoer’s current attitudes toward a wrong committed in the past should play no role in determining the punishment she deserves. Hannah Maslen’s book addresses the role of remorse in sentencing and examines a number of arguments for its mitigating function within retributivist sentencing theory.1Maslen defends a responsive censure argument, according to which the...


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola University New OrleansNew OrleansUSA

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