Injustice in the Justice System: Using Ancient Philosophy as a Tool for Criminal Justice Reform
Thomas Carr, Philosophy and Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Leigh Duffy, Philosophy
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Criminal justice reform “particularly concerning mass incarceration “has been one of the most widely discussed political topics over the past forty years. Our current justice system seems to operate under the philosophy of “you get what you deserve”, which likely plays a large part in driving mass incarceration. Society would be better served to address problems within the criminal justice system if we abandoned this outlook and adopted a theory of justice that is more compatible to Plato's outlook in his Republic. Plato argues that a just society is one that cares for the well-being of the whole community, as opposed to any one individual or group. In my view, our criminal justice system ought to ground our reform and legislative initiatives in this notion of justice. By using Plato's model of a just society, we can gain a better understanding of the shortcomings of our criminal justice system, and how we can address failures. I believe that the failures are a result of society, but most specifically the criminal justice system, not being built around the well-being of all citizens. In this paper, I argue for three specific changes to make to our criminal justice system to make it more just in Plato's sense of the word.
Carr, Thomas, "Injustice in the Justice System: Using Ancient Philosophy as a Tool for Criminal Justice Reform" (2021). Communication and Humanities. 1.