Remorse and the Courts: A Defence of Remorse-based Sentencing

  • Jamie Henson

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis defends the central claim that remorse ought to be considered a mitigating factor in sentencing decisions. I advocate a communicative approach to punishment, arguing that it is important that the state attempts to enter into a moral dialogue with those that it punishes and that this requires state actors to be receptive to offender-remorse. I contend that this requires us to accept a weak form of character retributivism and acknowledge that certain limited aspects of an offender's character impact upon their blameworthiness. In making these arguments I look at the nature of remorse and its relationship to apology, alongside the role that remorse currently plays within the courts. I also discuss the role of shame in the courts, the role of mercy in sentencing and argue that there is a correlation between remorse and reduced recidivism.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorStephen De Wijze (Supervisor) & Joel Smith (Supervisor)

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