CrimProf Blog

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

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Coca-Vila & Irarrazaval on Criminal Law for Semi-Citizens

Ivó Coca-Vila and Cristián Irarrázaval (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law and Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg) have posted A Criminal Law for Semi-Citizens (Pre–peer reviewed version of an article forthcoming in the Journal of Applied Philosophy (2021)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
A significant number of influential philosophical theorists of punishment argue that only those who enjoy the status of citizenship in a political community can legitimately be punished by that polity. Yet the strength of this approach wanes when these scholars treat individuals who clearly do not respond to their idealised conception of citizenship (such as asylum seekers, disenfranchised offenders or tourists) as if they were fully-fledged citizens. This article argues that citizen criminal law can only be theoretically feasible in today’s world if it abandons the binary position between “full-citizens” and “non-citizens” and recognises the everlasting presence of certain types of “semi-citizens”. Thus, citizenship should be conceived as a scalar phenomenon. Based on a typological approach to the different forms of (semi-)citizenship, it is suggested that the strength of the political bond between the offender and the political community must be considered when gauging punishment severity. The weaker the bond, the more lenient the punishment should be.

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