CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Perlin on Dignity and Therapeutic Jurisprudence

Michael L. Perlin (New York Law School) has posted Dignity and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: How We Can Best End Shame and Humiliation (HUMAN DIGNITY: PRACTICES, DISCOURSES, AND TRANSFORMATIONS 113 (Chipamong Chowdhury and Michael Britton eds. 2019) (Human Dignity Press)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This chapter is premised on the belief that dignity is the core of the entire therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) enterprise, and do not think we can seriously write about or think about TJ without taking seriously the role of dignity in the legal process. One of the central principles of TJ is a commitment to dignity. TJ may also lend dignity to the voice of those who are subordinated. Boiled down to its most essential element, therapeutic jurisprudence adds the dignity and value of the individual human being to legal analysis in a formal way.”

This is accentuated in the context of shame and humiliation. Keeping in mind that the law always has the power to shame, and humiliate, it is crystalline-clear that humiliation in the law utterly contradicts the aims of TJ and undermines the role of dignity. These behaviors directly contravene the guiding principles of therapeutic jurisprudence, especially in the context of its relationship to the importance of dignity in the law.

In this chapter, I explore the relationship between dignity and therapeutic jurisprudence, and conclude that, acting in concert, they are our best option for ending shame and humiliation

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