Overcriminalization by Douglas Husak
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By Douglas Husak


The Limits of the Criminal Law

By (author) See other recent books by Douglas Husak
Format: Hardback

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Overcriminalization by Douglas Husak

Book Description

In the US, one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated. The size of the prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Approximately 2.4% of Americans are either on probation and parole. The US has the highest rate of criminal punishment in the Western world. The problem with American criminal law, as the philosopher of law Douglas Husak and many others see it, is that there is simply too much of it. Recent years have seen a dramatic expansion in the amount of criminal statutes, and in the resulting reliance on punishment for convictions under those laws. Husak argues that this is regrettable for several reasons, but most importantly, he says that much of the resulting punishment is unjust, excessive, and disproportionate. He also claims that it is destructive to the rule of law and undermines the principle of legality. What should be done? Husak's goal in this book is to formulate a normative theory of criminalization that will allow us to distinguish which criminal laws are justified, and which are not-something he sees as essential in order to reverse the trend towards too many criminal laws. The first part of his book makes the case that there is both too much criminal law and too much punishment, and clarifies the relationship between the two using empirical data. He then provides examples of dubious criminal laws enacted by legislatures, in particular statutes on drugs possession and guns. The latter part of the book develops his theory, which establishes principles that should set limits (both external and internal to the criminal law) on what we can and should criminalize.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195328714
ISBN-10: 019532871X
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 163mm x 17mm)
Pages: 248
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 6-Dec-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Douglas Husak

Ignorance of Law by Douglas Husak Ignorance of Law, Hardback (September 2016)

This book argues that ignorance of law should usually be a complete excuse from criminal liability. It defends this conclusion by invoking two presumptions: first, the content of criminal law should conform to morality; second, mistakes of fact and mistakes of law should be treated symmetrically.

Philosophy of Criminal Law by Douglas Husak Philosophy of Criminal Law, Hardback (March 2010)

This volume collects 17 of Douglas Husak's influential essays in criminal law theory. The essays span Husak's original and provocative contributions to the central topics in the field, including the grounds of criminal liability, relative culpability, the role of defences, and the justification of punishment.

Overcriminalization by Douglas Husak Overcriminalization, Paperback (November 2009)

Husak's primary goal is to defend a set of constraints to limit the authority of states to enact and enforce criminal offenses. In addition, Husak situates this endeavor in criminal theory as traditionally construed. This book urges the importance of this topic in the real world, while most Anglo-American legal philosophers have neglected it.

Legalization of Drugs by Douglas Husak Legalization of Drugs, Paperback (September 2005)

This book presents two philosophical views on the legalization of drugs.

» View all books by Douglas Husak


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Author Biography - Douglas Husak

Douglas Husack is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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