Mich : Deprivation, Provocation and Punishment

CHAIRE HOOVER Louvain-La-Neuve

25 février 2020

12:45 - 14:00


Salle Vives, D-305, Place Montesquieu 3

Andrei Poama (Leiden University)

All things equal, it seems wrong that offenders who are unjustly subject to socio-economic deprivations are held criminally responsible and subsequently punished the same as non-deprived offenders. This paper argues that, particularly for paradigmatic cases, unjust socio-economic deprivation grounds a wrongful social provocation (WSP) defense. The WSP account holds that many (albeit not all) deprived offenders are being wrongfully provoked by ongoing government policies into committing a range of criminal offenses — typically, social and economic offenses like petty theft or welfare fraud or the violation of various government regulations, such as squatting or loitering — that a reasonable person is likely to commit at some point if systematically submitted to the burdens of unjust deprivation. Thus, when and insofar as they are wrongfully provoked, deprived offenders have a special claim to a partial excuse from full criminal responsibility and, correspondingly, to a mitigated criminal sentence.