Neurointerventions as criminal rehabilitation

An ethical review

Authored by: Jonathan Pugh , Thomas Douglas

The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415708654
eBook ISBN: 9781315885933
Adobe ISBN: 9781134619450


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According to a number of influential views in penal theory, 1 one of the primary goals of the criminal justice system is to rehabilitate offenders. Rehabilitative measures are commonly included as part of a criminal sentence. For example, in some jurisdictions judges may order violent offenders to attend anger management classes or to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy as a part of their sentences. In a limited number of cases, neurointerventions—interventions that exert a direct biological effect on the brain—have been used as aids to rehabilitation. For instance, in certain jurisdictions drug-addicted offenders are required to take medications that are intended to attenuate their addictive desires. 2 In other jurisdictions, sex-offenders may receive testosterone-lowering drugs (sometimes referred to as “chemical castration”) as a part of their criminal sentence or as required by their conditions of parole; 3 these interventions are intended to suppress the recipients’ sex drive and thus reduce the risk of recidivism amongst this group of offenders.

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